While doing some blog writing yesterday I found myself discussing repentance. Up until now, my idea of repentance was basically doing a 180 degree turn from sin, changing your actions so that you sin as little as possible. Obviously it's a gradual change but eventually you end up not sinning.
However as I researched it, I consistently read that repentance is not a change of actions, but a change of mind. I.e., you start to think of sin as being against God and desire to not do it anymore. You also acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord. It's a changed mind, which if sincere will beget changed behavior.
I thought this was interesting so I put it on the backburner for later research. That night I was watching Manna-Fest with Perry Stone and during it he briefly mentioned repentance, saying it is a "change of mind."
That caught my attention. I do think sometimes things are simply coincidences, but not that. I had a similar experience a couple months ago. I was musing over the topic of worship and a TV pastor who normally spoke of marriage and sexuality said he would be starting a series on worship. I do believe God has used that show I was watching to say "Yes, that's what repentance really means." I like to call instances like these "bumps," a term used on message boards such as this to keep a thread on the first page. In this instance, God bumped the topic of repentance to keep it in my mind.
Which is awesome and quite a relief. The understanding of repentance I've held has always seems quite strict and almost I daresay legalistic, causing anxiety when I see I'm not doing a very good job of "repenting" of a sin. Real repentance is nipping sin at the bud - with the mind. It's not so much saying "I should avoid all things that could tempt me to sin" but "I don't even like that sin."
God is awesome.