The race is transformation.
We know why we’re running the race, and we know that our starting line is Christ. By the time we’ve finished, we’ll be at the feet of God. But what about the middle part? What about the actual race itself? The first leg is always important – you set your pace and prepare for the long haul. It’s the first step to a long race ahead. Stumble even once, and you could lose big time. So, what’s the ‘first leg’ when it comes to transformation? What’s the first step?
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:32
We are a flawed people. There is not a single one of us that doesn’t have the stain of sin, the stain of pride, greed, lust, selfishness, anger, or doubt. One stain is enough. That’s all it takes. We are the unrighteous, and God is calling us to repent.
Repentance is an action; it’s a confession of the sin that fills our lives. But it’s more than that. It’s not just expressing the guilt of our sin, it’s expressing the desire to turn away from that sin. Repentance doesn’t exist so that you can feel bad about yourself, it exists so that you can find restoration and healing. It’s realizing that you are broken, sinful, messy, and flawed…but loved and chosen by Someone who has redeemed you. It’s renouncing who you were, and pursuing who Christ is.
How can we transform, if we do not first renounce our own selves? After all, transformation isn’t about us, right? But if we don’t repent and renounce, then we aren’t truly committing ourselves to God. And if we don’t commit ourselves to God, then we are making transformation – once again – about ourselves.
Recognize that repentance is an action – one that must happen daily. What sin in your life do you need to put before the Lord? Is there something that you need to repent of? Take that first step. Plead your case to God; confess to Him that sin. But don’t just leave it at that. Day after day, choose the cross. Choose victory over sin – victory that Christ has won for you.
Recognize that you cannot fully commit to God, unless you renounce yourself and the world. Turn away from who you were, and instead turn to who you are in Christ. He has called you to repent, to abandon yourself, to pursue Him, and to share the gospel. Is there something that God is calling you to renounce? Identify it. Present it before your God.
Recognize that repentance leads to restoration – restoration with yourself, your relationships, and especially with God. You belong to the ultimate Healer. Seek His forgiveness and His love.
Choose repentance over pride. Choose Christ over yourself. Choose restoration over brokenness. When you put your faith in the stronghold that is your God, you will not stumble.