The Heart of True Repentance

As a Christ-follower (a disciple of Jesus), you may sometimes wonder why your spiritual leader always seems to be calling you toward repentance. It’s like there’s this constant tension in the flesh (sin nature) to be pulled into that, yet this greater effect of the Spirit of God indwelling true believers to have us walk in repentance in truth and in the righteousness of Christ. In our lives it is often tempting to simply look on the surface to identify obvious, besetting sins- the ones of external clarity. And we should repent of this also. But I believe the LORD wants us to allow Him to examine our own hearts. It’s the inside stuff that they LORD is after and calls us away from. It’s the subtle, unseen desires of our tragically flawed hearts that He calls away from idolatry (any heart belief/want/desire not aligned with the Word of God) into a true worship of Christ Jesus.

This transition to true worship in the allegiance of our hearts is the core of repentance. It makes us ashamed and sorry for where we are truly guilty. It makes us desire to discard what is false and exchange it for what is true. It causes us to forsake sin and rebellion and deceit for the righteousness of the Savior. It’s way more than law keeper. It’s the New Covenant. It’s better. And this is why your spiritual leaders unashamedly always call you to repentance as they help examine your hearts, your motives and your core beliefs. Those who deal with you superficially and merely help you feel better about yourself probably shouldn’t use such flattery in the mask of encouragement. Rather, may we bind ourselves to Jesus our LORD, so that we gan His mind, His attire, His holy heart.

—Thor Knutstad