The Reversal - The One Year Heaven on Earth Devotional

The Reversal

Read: Mark 1:9-15

Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15, NIV

IN WORD

Repent. It’s such a negative-sounding word, a religious term that seems to fit fire-and-brimstone, street-corner sermons better than it fits our image of Jesus. Many who use it freely today mean it in harsh and judgmental terms, and we don’t like that. It doesn’t sound very loving. It doesn’t even sound very helpful.

So what does this word actually mean? It depends. In Hebraic thought—the culture of Jesus—it implies a turning around and a changing of actions. In Greek thought—the language of the Gospel writers—it implies a change of mind, a new way to think. We can probably assume that the inspirer of Scripture, the Spirit who knows all cultures and future applications of His Word, meant it comprehensively. To repent means to have a change of heart and mind that results in a new direction and different actions. It’s a reversal of the course we were taking—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, behaviorally, and in all other ways.

That means that the depressed can be happy. That’s repentance. The discouraged can be encouraged. That’s repentance too. The apathetic can choose zeal, the angry can choose forgiveness, the judgmental can choose grace, the immoral can choose purity, the dead can choose life. None of that is possible in our own strength—repentance in that context is simply another standard we can’t live up to. But now that the King is here with His Kingdom . . . well, that changes everything.

IN DEED

The Kingdom of God is a reversal from earth’s status quo. If we want to walk in its fullness, we’ll have to accept cross-cultural experiences. The Kingdom is so different from our old way of thinking, feeling, doing, and relating that we’ll need new paradigms and perceptions. That’s repentance—stepping out of the old and into the new. It’s a necessary journey into Kingdom life. And a much more pleasant one than most people think.

ADDITIONAL READING: Romans 12:2

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

LEO TOLSTOY

From the Book: