By Victor Ochieng
Reading through the Bible, it becomes apparent that God only focuses on those who worship Him in truth. Whenever the biblical Israelites abandoned the true worship and turned to other gods, Jehovah would turn His eye away from them and they’d face serious devastation, both spiritually and physically. But then again, when they discarded all the false gods and returned to Jehovah in true repentance, He’d listen to them and be their God.
This underscores the fact that relationship with God is built through true worship and genuine repentance. That’s what leads to true conversions.
Forget about the kind of conversions we see today where people simply make some resolutions about dropping some characteristics without changing their worship. What they fail to realize is that the relationship one has with God is what determines whether or not they’ve truly repented. And a good relationship with God is only possible through true worship.
Let’s first try to look into what false repentance is. We can get this from the Bible book of Matthew, where we see the Pharisees who claim to obey the law and have good deeds. They’re the people who pick up their mess, say sorry when they wrong you, don’t spend time with tax collectors, and always working to appear clean, particularly in the eyes of men. But when Jesus looked into their hearts, he said they’re “white-washed tombs; people who’re clean on the outside, but stinking on the inside.” That means they were not truly repented; they weren’t born again.
Sometimes we may think that true repentance is about feeling guilty for the wrong things we’ve done. Some just feel remorseful because they’ve been caught and their reputation is hurt, some feel bad simply because their friend has discovered something about them. But that won’t help if you’re “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Prov. 26:11). That’s not true repentance!
The first and most important step in repentance is ridding your life of idols and any other false gods.
The truth of the matter is; True repentance involves switching from false to true worship. It results in a totally changed life, including how you feel and think about sin. Why? Because our repentance is to God, who’s the reader of all hearts. That’s to say that your heart must be repentant; you must hate sin. Repentance results in a conviction of the Holy Spirit towards your sinful acts, whether people know about them or not.
Repentance means putting God first. If money, wife, children or your big mansion was your priority, that must change so that God comes first.
A truly repentant heart would love the things of God. He’d be focused on serving God, not just because he’s looking forward to entering Heaven, but because he loves God.