Yesterday we said that there are two types of entry into the Christian life -- sudden and gradual. Paul the apostle had one of the most sudden and dramatic conversions in Christian history, yet Paul's disciple Timothy does not seem to have had a similar experience. We cannot tell for sure, but Timothy's coming to faith, a process apparently greatly influenced by his grandmother and mother, seems to have been much more prolonged. We said also (and some may have found this surprising) that without a clear understanding of repentance, and all that it entails, there can be no successful continuance in the Christian life. So what is repentance and why is it vitally important? The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, means "a change of mind." But a change of mind about what? About where life is found. Prior to coming to Christ our minds are shot through with the idea that life depends on such things as self-sufficiency, self-management, and ego-building. The Bible confronts this self-centered approach to living and says that for our lives to work the way God designed them, the ego must be marginal and not central. In other words, Christ must be central, and the ego revolves around Him just as the planets revolve around the sun. This is quite a radical thought for any mind to grapple with, but be sure of this -- if there is no acceptance of it, the soul will not go on to experience a deep and developing relationship with God. No change of mind about where life is to be found -- no spiritual progress. It is as simple as that.
O Father, help me examine my heart and decide just who is central in my life -- You or me. Show me even more clearly how I can be more Christ-centered and less ego-centered. In the Name of Your Son I ask it. Amen.
For Further Study
1. In what graphic way did Paul describe repentance?
2. What concern did Paul have for the Colossians?