My closest friend and I have a lot in common and we agree on most things, but there is one thing that separates us. While I support the greatest football team in the world in Bristol City, he believes the same is true of their arch-rivals Bristol Rovers. We’ve spent many an evening praising the characteristics, history and performances of our sides while being rude and disparaging about the other team. And yet, we never changed each other’s mind.
I recently learnt that the word “repent” is translated in the Bible from the Greek word that means to change your mind or to change the way you think.
Matthew 4:17 talks about the start of Jesus’s ministry, ‘From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near”.’
So, what is Jesus asking to change our mind about?
Possibly, like first century Jews, we can feel like the forces of the world around us are ruling us. We can fall into routines of doing life that do not honour him. We can feel like God is not near, he is not King and that we are miles away from anything like heaven.
Yet through his ministry, miracles, death and resurrection we see that God is none of these things. He is close and has sent his Spirit to be with us always, he has defeated death on the cross and is Lord of all and he wants us to know his love and blessings now.
Changing the way we think can be really hard. As we accept God as King of our lives, his values become our values and they are often completely different from how the rest of the world thinks.
Romans 8:5-6 says, ‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.’
Jesus’s ministry did not firstly focus on a change of actions but a change of mind as he knows that when we submit our mind fully to him trusting that he is King, then out of that our actions will follow and we will have life and peace.