Mark 1:15 – (And Jesus was saying) “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (ESV)

This is how Jesus Himself proclaimed His message.  It is simple.  It is Law and Gospel.  Repent and believe.  I think most of us have a pretty good idea of what it means to believe, but what is it to repent.  Well, simply stated it means to turn around.  Change course.  In theological terms that is a turning towards God.

When most of us picture repentance we seem to see a person on their knees, sweating profusely, dark furrows of concern on their brow, horrified by all their sins, and praying to God for forgiveness.  This is, indeed, a true image of repentance.  It is the “Poor Miserable Sinner” of our confession on Sundays.  But repentance doesn’t have to be this dramatic.  It is any turn you make to bring you more in line with God.  Remember, God had to do the “Justification.”  This is the act of saving your soul, of redeeming His creation back to Himself.  This is what Jesus did on the cross for all of creation on the cross, and what He gives you in your Baptism and when He gives you the ability to believe in Him that we call faith.  

But there is something else going on in all of us Christians.  That is the act of “Sanctification.”  This act, the process of becoming more Christlike people every day, is the process in which we are allowed to cooperate with God a little bit.  Sure He still does the heavy lifting through His Holy Spirit, but we are allowed to help, to turn, to repent.  We work with the Holy Spirit to change ourselves in little ways to be more what He wants us to be. 

We can do this in dramatic ways or in simple ways.  Luther suggested that we put the old self to death and rise to a new (Christian) self each day by remembering our Baptism.  Doing this each day, making a new commitment to be more Christlike is repentance.  Every move you make towards being more Godlike is a form of turning, of repentance.

Many new things happen in August.  Kids go back to school, parents take a deep breath, vacations end.  August is one of several months that bring new beginnings each year.  Why not add a little repentance to your new beginning.  Find something you can do better.  Some little thing you can change to be more the person God wants you to be.  Turn from the old (repent) and move to the new (sanctification).  There is a meme on social media that says, “Be more the person your dog thinks you are.”  I suggest you try being, “More the person God wants you to be.”

In light of this I will be working on turning away from distraction and sloth and towards being more diligent in sharing God’s Word with you through these weekly verses.

We pray – Dearest Lord, please help us find those things we should not be doing, turn from them, and towards you.  In Your Holy Name we pray. - Amen