The issue of repentance is tricky business. There is more to repentance than intention. There is action! When it was time to prepare the way of the Messiah. When it was time to set things right. John called people to repent. Repent not just of having wrong intentions, but of doing wrong things.
You see that is where I struggle. That is where I get confused. I try and repent with my intentions, but leave off the action part. Repentance means turning over every misplaced stone in my life and putting it where it belongs. I often turn over the stone, but seldom do I work up the courage to place the stone where it belongs. Repentance means doing the right thing, not just talking about the right thing.
Did you notice what repentance looked like when John spelled it out the people who were asking? It was a matter of justice. Repentance was a matter of treating your neighbor right, providing for those who had need, and being content with what you have. Speaking of being content… Am I content?
To not be content is to want more. To not be content is to covet (and last I checked, “do not covet” is still in the top 10 commandments). Coveting is the enemy of loving my neighbor. I can’t love my neighbor and be coveting his stuff. Even if I’m not coveting his stuff I will love stuff so much that I won’t care about his condition. After all isn’t coveting what would prompt a man who had two tunics not to share with the guy that didn’t have one (Lk. 3;11)? It’s not wrong to have two tunics, but it is wrong to love your second tunic more than you love your brother. So repentance is action. It’s giving me second tunic to my brother who is in need.
It all belongs to you. Search my heart today. Help me to see every stone that needs to be set right. Give me the courage to set things right in my life. People are more valuable to you than stuff. I ask that stuff would never come in the way of me serving you.