““The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Jesus – Mark 1:15)
We have been talking about repentance – and how it is vital in the life of a believer of Jesus.
Repentance is: changing our thinking – to a mindset that aligns with HOW God thinks.
Jesus came to open the door to the Kingdom of God. And when He did, He offered us the keys to, not only getting into the Kingdom of God – but also, getting the Kingdom into us! And all these keys are based upon what God has done for us – through Jesus.
Repentance is a call to three essential, and specific, changes…
1) HOW we receive from God (see yesterday’s post!). The right mindset is… Everything is a gift from God – we do not earn anything!
2) WHO is the center of attention. If righteousness is based upon our good works, then when we do what is good… who is the “star of the show?” We are. In all honesty, our efforts at being good people should be rewarded. Something earned, should be recompensed. But the true Christian life is not about being put on a pedestal, or being admired, or praised for our good deeds. The true Christian life is about exalting God – and making sure that He is the One recognized and praised.
The only way to assure that He is the One exalted for righteousness, is to remove us from the equation. This is exactly what the Kingdom of God is all about – the total recognition of God’s efforts at making us the people that He desires us to be. Everything that we are, is because of God’s work on our behalf. Everything!
There is no room for our credit, our recognition, or our praise.
The Bible tells us that all our efforts at being good are centered in the old nature. The new you recognizes your total spiritual poverty – and simply receives what God has done. This makes Him the (appropriate) center of attention in our lives.
The right mindset is… It is not about us – it’s all about Him.
3) WHAT is the way to please God. So, if it’s not about trying to be good people, or trying to do good things – what is it? How do we please God, if it’s not by doing a bunch of good stuff.
Jesus gave us the answer: “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent.” (John 6:29 NLT)
If we understand this correctly, believing in Jesus is the “only work” that God requires. But, when we think about it, believing is not really work, at all. Believing is a mindset – it is not really action. But, here’s the thing: true belief always leads to action. Or to put it another way, if we don’t act upon what we say we believe – we don’t really believe it! If we claim to believe in Jesus, but ignore Him on a daily basis – we don’t really believe in Him!
When it comes to pleasing God, it is not really about doing good things, or avoiding bad things. It is about believing in the One Who came to make it possible to be a member of the King’s Own Household. Believing is how we get into the King’s Family, and believing is what being in the King’s Family is all about.
Certainly, there IS work to be done – but that work must flow from our relationship with God, through Jesus. And that relationship is based solely upon our belief in Him.
The right mindset is… the way we please God is through our belief, expressed completely in Him.
Prayer focus: God, help me to make certain that You are the center of attention, and that I am believing in the One that You sent, every moment of my life.