My friend and mentor CRod who I have blogged about before gave me a great gift in introducing me to the Early Church Fathers years ago. It was through that investigation that I began to initially understand the true biblical meaning of repentance (metenoia in the Greek). His introduction to these writings lead me an a somewhat exhaustive study of repentence. See earlier blog posts http://shawnpetree.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/lent-day-31/. if you are interested in a summation. Just when I thought I had a good understanding of repentance, I ran across a new definition that, yet again, is challenging me on the work of repentance.
In Thomas Keeting’s book, Intimacy with God, he says, “repentance means to change the direction in which you are looking for happiness.” WOW! This means that I have to be honest with myself and realize that I am looking to others things besides Jesus to make me happy. Whether it be another person, an object, or an ideal, there are things that tempt me each day to take my eyes off of Jesus and settle for temporary happiness at the expense of true contentment. As I repent each morning I am wise to ask the Lord to reveal what things/people I am looking to for fulfillment, and to return once again to the only true source of happiness, friendship with Jesus.
This understanding of repentance helps me put “legs” to Jesus’ tall order to “repent and believe”. It gives me practical work to do today to follow Jesus’ invitation to life that is meaningful and real. What are you doing/looking to today for happiness? Are you willing to change your direction and return to the only true source of happiness?