Your Character, Redeemed by God
God gave you the character you need to be effective in life and in his kingdom. The problem is that sin has perverted your character, making you less effective than God intends. He will redeem your character with your cooperation, making you more effective than you ever would imagine.
If you redeem something, you recognize that it has more potential than it’s currently experiencing. In fact, that’s why God redeems you; you’re not currently experiencing your potential.
Let’s apply this to your character. Sin corrupted or perverted your character, primarily by making you self-centered. God can redeem your character with your cooperation and as you do your part, he produces the results. What is your part? Repenting.
The Greek word translated “repent” in the New Testament is metanoio. It’s a compound word; the first part (meta) refers to transformation and the second part (noio) refers to your mind — what or how you think. Repentance literally means changing the way you think or transforming your mind. It requires you to reprogram your mind and make it conform to what the Bible says.
I’ve heard it said that repentance is believers’ territory and that’s absolutely true! The New Testament was written to Christians and it tells us to repent. Read it; the vast majority of what it says requires us to change our minds about something.
One of the biggest problems Christians have is trying to change behavior while ignoring attitudes. Not only is that ineffective, it’s terribly frustrating! What we think determines what we do. We need to focus on changing our minds and our behavior will follow.
Repentance includes recognizing old attitudes and behaviors we developed when we were sinners — ungodly habits, lifestyle choices, mannerisms, language, attitudes, perspectives, priorities, values, standards and such. Yes, we’re new creations in Christ, but we also brought a lot of old baggage into our new lives. Now repentance requires us to identify those things that don’t bring honor to God, that don’t reflect his nature, that no longer are appropriate for us. Then, having identified those things that must go, we consciously and deliberately transform our minds.
God will help us change our thinking, but it’s primarily our responsibility.