“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” —Matthew 3:2

To repent is to change your mind, to change the way you think. Anything that we do or say, anything that we allow to set itself up against God, we are called to repent of. We are called to repent of anything that refuses to give God dominion.

I was reading the Psalms today and the writer was pleading with God to bring retribution to the wicked. The wicked in this passage were doing all of these things to unjustly hurt the writer and he was asking God to bring the wicked down to lower than the dust. As I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself how much I would hate to be the wicked. How would it feel to be the ill-favored fatherless of Psalm 109:10-13? I thought about how I would feel utterly dejected and filled with anger to be in their position.

Then it hit me. The wicked need to repent because they have thought patterns that refuse to bow to Christ. The wicked and their children entertain thoughts of hatred and self-pity, and to repent would mean that they must give up those patterns of thought. Ah, Sovereign LORD, I am the wicked!

How many times have I entertained self-pity? How many times have I been angry at myself (depressed) because of my circumstances? How many times have I despairingly surrendered to loneliness? I am the wicked. I have not clung to God’s promises. I have not thanked Him for all things. I have not given Him dominion over my thoughts. Abba, change the way I think. These patterns are so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t know how to repent on my own. As far as I understand it, I give you dominion over my thoughts.

Repentance starts small and grows into righteousness, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.