TRUE REPENTANCE: MENTAL CHANGES
The first sign in the transformation process is that of true repentance. Repentance can be described as both a choice and a process. In order to make a choice and follow a process, the choice and process must be defined. Let’s define true repentance.
Repentance is a willing choice of mental change. We learn that God thinks differently than we do in an area. We accept what we learn. We choose to begin letting go of what we thought before learning. We begin to change our thinking to match what God thinks.
Repentance is a process of willing mental change. We learn new areas where God thinks differently than we do every day. We accept this daily learning process as part of daily life. We commit to the process of learning what God thinks, letting go of what we thought before, changing our thinking and matching what God thinks by daily practice.
True repentance is also a process of choices that happen as a direct result of godly sorrow. The Bible defines true repentance as the result of godly sorrow.
The first experience with godly sorrow occurs when a person makes the personal exchange of trusting Jesus in the “sin forgiveness” of missing marks in life. Trusting God in godly sorrow simply means humbly requesting help from God, about sin & being willing to act on receiving God’s help for us. This humble act sets the example for the consistent growth of dependency that God wants us to desire of Him. As we make mistakes & errors in everyday life, we increase our personal dependency on our relationship with God by practicing the request & receive process of trusting God in godly sorrow from the honesty of our heart, which includes turning away from the missed marks of our choices to sin.
This trust softens our hearts so that God’s love can increasingly grow inside us. God knows all about our imperfections, the rules we break, and the marks we aim for and miss.
Our relationship with Him gradually draws us closer with each day to overcome temptations & deceptions. The exchange doesn’t mean that you have to earn your way into God’s kingdom after you have received Christ. It means that you are now free to experience the endless totality of God’s amazing love through godly sorrow, true repentance, and God’s complete forgiveness & life change in peace.
TRUE ASSURANCE: KNOWING FORGIVENESS
The second sign is found in a real understanding of true assurance. In order to understand a result, one must define the result. Now, let’s take a look at true assurance.
The Bible says that nothing will separate true believers in Christ from the love of God. This is God’s direct promise of real assurance to us. The problem we face as people is our own fear, doubting whether or not God identifies us as true believers.
This is both natural and normal. It doesn’t last forever. God puts REAL experiences in our lives over time to remove all doubt of our own sincerity with Him at the time of our initial choice to receive the real life exchange of Jesus Christ for our life.
It’s a personal experience for each person. There’s only one thing that we need to do. We must refuse to give up on God, because we know that God refuses to give up on us. So if you’re wondering, “Am I really exchanged in Jesus for life?”, it means that you’re growing, not lost! In the area of forgiveness, God has chosen as the Sovereign Creator to forgive us of all. There are three important thoughts that we should learn to remember in refusing to give up on God every day.
The first thought is that God’s decision to forgive us is final. We choose either to accept or reject that decision. The second thought is that God has given us the will power to accept His decision, which we are responsible to choose to use every day ourselves. The third thought is that God will effectively help us forgive everyone that we cannot forgive alone as long as we ask for His help and commit to completing the course of time it takes to receive His help. This means that we give Him the amount of time that He decides is best to help us.
TRUE APPLICATION: GROWING IN TRUSTING GOD
The third process sign is an increasingly active life-consistency in true application. In order to truly establish a change, one has to learn and practice the change.
The Bible says that sin (missing the mark) lies at the door of our choices in desire of us. It also says that we should master & rule over sin. The ability to master sin doesn’t come from our actions of obeying rules. It comes from accepting God’s choice to forgive us. It comes from following His choice by forgiving ourselves. It comes from sharing His choice by forgiving others. It comes from loving God in true relationship with him. Forgiveness is where that love relationship with God truly begins.
As children, our obedience to our parents isn’t based on just being “ordered around”. It’s based on making choices of trust in the caring guidance of the closet care givers that we have during the most basic & founding stages of our lives.
In the same way our choices of obedience to resist sin isn’t based on following “God’s orders”. It’s based on making choices to trust God’s guidance in our lives. The ultimate Caregiver of both the now & the everlasting that is coming for each us is truly God Himself. God is the spiritual Head of our spiritual family. We don’t free ourselves from our sins. We trust God to forgive us throughout life as we learn how to resist sins because of the relationship we share with Him; growing in trust is more than just the appearance of mere obedience.
- excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book: I'm exchanged... now what? by C.D. Williams