Is repentance just turning from what is "bad"? Is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear "repentance", something like "sin" or "lust"?
Turning is of course part of repentance, but only part. What is the turning from and what is the turning towards?
SKH was talking tonight in our staff meeting about this very topic. I have thought for a long time that repentance was turning from sin, toward something "not sin". But what of turning from something "ok" towards something excellent? The turning is then not out of duty, but more out of pleasure. Like; if you are eating top ramen compared to the perfect Kobe beef fillet? I like ramen, but later on in the day it comes back to haunt me. It doesn't take coercion to switch from eating the ramen to the fillet, but how often do we think that if we skip the ramen there might not be any fillet for us? So we fill up on ramen, knowing all the while that it's cheap, it will bite me later and we are satisfied. Only the fillet is waiting there the entire time, perfectly prepared, juicy and tender. BUT we made sure we got our ramen, because we didn't want to be left hungry.
Repentance is leaving what satisfies our earthly desires, that fade and are soon empty, for what is the most satisfying, never fading, perfect portion.
When we think about repentance in this way, it is much easier to understand, much more desirable and we will look on our current desires and lust with distaste. We would then be saying to ourselves, and others, "Why in the world would you ever want to fill up on that junk when you could be filled with the best Heaven has to offer?". That makes turning and repentance lasting, because our lust has changed. We then would lust after the things of God and Heaven. Our ultimate joy and satisfaction would not be in the things the world runs after, but eternal.
"A righteous man has more excellent food. Carnal men feed only on earthly provision; the righteous feeds on heavenly. He tastes how sweet the Lord is, Psalm 34:8. He feeds on God's love; this is the hidden manna. He eats Christ's flesh, which not only begets life, John 6:33, but prevents death. "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die," John 6:50 - that is, not die the second death. Other bread may nauseate or cause bloating, but there is no excess here. We can-not eat too much of the Bread of Life. We cannot have too much of Christ, as one cannot have too much of health. Oh, what excellent food is this! God Himself is in this cheer!" Thomas Watson
How great would it be if God granted us repentance to find in Him our greatest treasure? Only He can satisfy and only He can give us the desire to chase after Him. When we line our wills and hearts up with His, then, and only then, will we desire true repentance and find our treasure in Him. Lord give us your loves. Grant us repentance that lasts.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
When we see ALL that Jesus is, then everything the world has is garbage. Pray that we would see Him in His splendor.