Monday, January 10, 2011

1/10/11 - Repent and Believe in the Gospel

Mark 1:14-20
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord that we celebrated yesterday brings to an end the Christmas Season. From today until the beginning of Lent, our daily Gospel will be taken from St. Mark.  And we begin with a very clear statement: 
"The Kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
"Repent" doesn't mean "I'm sorry", it means "I'm on the wrong path, I'm not going to act like this anymore." That's a HUGE difference. Those of us who have kids know exactly what it looks like - because we see our kids say "I'm sorry" but not be repentant darn near every day. We see them hanging their heads because they've been caught, saying what they need to say, then going right back and doing the same thing again.

Repentance is something we need to do over and over in our lives. As we grow in Christ, he shows us when we're walking down the wrong path. He shows us pieces of our life that need to be put to death for us to truly follow Him.

Over the last couple of years, I've had several times where Christ has shown me ingrained behaviors that are not His way. When that happens there is a battle of will. I am tempted to stick with the "worldly" thing that I know and love. It is one thing to recognize a behavior is wrong, and it's another to feel regret about it after the fact. True repentance, though, is resolving that I don't WANT to do it anymore. 
This is one of those things that takes a while to grasp mentally, and even longer to grasp in practice. It's very difficult to cease to want something that is sinful. I've found that the only way to truly do it is to seek God's help ... and be willing to accept how slow the "detachment" process can be.