1. You have been baptized.
2. You have developed a common practice of spending time with God.
3. You have developed a common practice of reading the Bible.
I am making the above assumptions about you. Normally I would tell you that unless you are doing those things then don’t read any further. Today is a bit different. You can live a life of repentance as you develop those practices.
WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
Repentance is the act of bringing your life in line with what God wants for your life. Repentance is to stop doing what is displeasing to God. Repentance is also to start doing what is pleasing to God.
REPENTANCE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Righteousness, as defined by Jesus, is to obey God’s will (a life lived pleasing to God). The way we please God is to know God’s will and obey it. It does not do us any good to know God’s will and not keep it. In fact, Jesus teaches that a person who does that is like a person who builds his house on sand. The winds and rain come and the house washes away.
To live a life of repentance is to learn God’s will and then do what you have learned.
HOW DO YOU LEARN GOD’S WILL?
If you are doing the 2nd and 3rd assumptions above, you will know God’s will. If you have a common practice of spending time with God and of reading and studying scriptures, knowing what God wants is simple.
You do not have to go on a holy quest to find God’s will. Spend time with God and read the Bible. You will know it.
By the way, one of the first things you will learn from reading the Gospels and the Book of Acts is the importance of baptism (that would be assumption 1.) So, if you haven’t done that, get it done.
WHEN DOES REPENTANCE TAKE PLACE?
Repentance is NOT a one-time good deal. People often confuse repentance with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior or believing in Jesus.
God does not just call you to believe in Jesus. Reading the Bible will make this clear. God expects us to change our lives. God doesn’t expect us to do this alone. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us by teaching us and guiding us. Nevertheless, we are to change.
This process of change is repentance and it is on-going. The more we spend time with God, the more we study scriptures, the more the Holy Spirit points things out to us, the more we realize that we need to bring our lives into alignment with God’s will. Therefore, we change (repent).
When I became a disciple of Jesus, I did not know everything that God expected of me (I still don’t today). There were teachings of Jesus that I had not learned. However, as I learned these teachings, I had to stop doing some things and start doing others. That stopping and starting is repentance.
So as you continue to grow in the knowledge of the Father and the Son whom God sent, live a life of active repentance – constantly changing, constantly conforming your life into the likeness of Christ, constantly growing into God’s will.