I’m Sick of Repentance?
The 10 Days vision is a call to 10 Days of “mourning, fasting, and repentance.” Needless to say, that hasn’t always been the most attractive message to people.
In sharing this vision with others, I’ve often heard it said, “Can we get rid of the mourning part?” I raise my hands, helpless. You see, when God gives you a vision, you can’t just go changing it all the time, even if you want to.
I like to joke that God’s given me an ugly baby. However, I think that when we press into these things, we see that it’s very similar to the story of the “ugly duckling”. Repentance and Mourning may seem ugly at first, but as our understanding of repentance matures, we find something graceful and surpassingly beautiful emerge.
“We Have Already Repented”
“We have already repented” is a common objection to 10 Days offered by people of good-will, and I think it’s helpful to talk through that objection. For today, I’ll be focusing exclusively on the concept of personal repentance, laying aside how repentance can have a corporate and intercessory aspect and also laying aside the idea of mourning.
I often hear this argument stated something like this:
“We have already repented and we’ve moved beyond repentance. Rather than repenting again for what God has already forgiven, let’s invite people into the new things God is doing.”
This argument tends to come more from those with a charismatic bent and it has some strong truths in it. First of all, it’s true that we should not confess sins over and over again. However, I think this statement, “we have already repented” confuses the related ideas of Confesssion and Repentance.
Confession and Repentance are not the same thing
Confession means admitting to God that you’ve done something wrong and asking for forgiveness.
10 Days is not a time to confess the same sins over and over again. Confessing the same sin over and over is a sin—it’s unbelief! So, trust in His forgiveness. Jesus really died on the cross to forgive us! It’s a finished work, and it’s free for the asking!
Repent: Turn Around and Change Your Mind
Repentance is a much more inclusive concept than confession. In Hebrew, it literally means “to turn around”. In other words, we don’t just stop doing the bad thing, we head 180 degrees in the other direction. In Greek, it literally means “to change your mind”. When we repent, we exchange an old mindset, a bad thought-pattern for a new one. Repentance involves not only turning from the bad thing, but also turning toward what is good!
So, why should we take 10 Days to Repent?
Let me ask the question in a different way: Would you like to spend 10 Days getting rid of mindsets that are stealing life from you, mindsets that come from the world, the flesh, and the devil and discovering the mind of Christ? Would you like to spend 10 Days learning to think and live and look like Jesus Christ, coming to know Christ more fully…and seeing those around you similarly transformed?
This is what 10 Days is for, and this is what true repentance really is. It’s not just about confession of sins, it’s about taking 10 Days to learn to be like Jesus!
Upward focused Repentance “Set your minds on things above”
Repentance has two elements: “Turning from” something and “turning toward” something.
Sometimes we do the “turning from” repentance without including “turning toward”.
However, while we still need to confess sin and turn away from it, there is an upward trajectory to true repentance. Repentance (changing our minds) means elevating our eyes, it means turning toward Christ, toward heavenly realities, and setting our minds on things above!
The fruit of true repentance is Christ-likeness.
Repent Upward into Fullness
So, have we already repented, or should we take time, 10 entire days, to focus on repentance? I guess the question really is, do we look like Christ? Or do we still have a way to go?
If your vision of the Christian life is rooted in passages like Ephesians 3:19 and your ambition is “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God,” then taking 10 Days to turn from sin and turn towards the knowledge of the love of Christ will seem like a pretty reasonable thing to do.
Our Heart’s Cry: FULLNESS
My heart is set on “the upward call of God in Christ” towards a place called fullness. I recognize that both I and others in the body of Christ have to keep repenting, keep moving upward, keep growing in revelation of the love of Christ until we reach a destination that the Apostle Paul calls “fullness”.
“I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, so that I may somehow also attain the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this or been made perfect, but one thing I do—forgetting what lies behind…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.” Philippians 3:10-13
You can see how if that’s your heart’s cry, “I want to know you fully, Jesus Christ” taking 10 Days to focus on that, putting aside all other distractions, seems a small price to pay.
So, in conclusion, let’s not keep confessing the same sins, over and over again. Let’s confess whatever sins, known and unknown, are still besetting us. And then let’s repent upwards, growing in the knowledge and love of God.
God is taking His people to a place called “fullness”. The pathway is “upward Repentance”. Will you join us on that journey this year during 10 Days?
Following 10 Days, we will be hosting the Restore and Revive conference. This conference features the Restore gathering, a unity movement of New England churches and networks, as well as special speakers RT Kendall, Chuck Pierce, Heidi Baker, and many others!