“For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
Life in the Spirit is relational, built on a personal relationship with the Lord that began with our faith commitment, which itself was established with our repentance from sin. So, what is repentance?
A young girl had much hurt in her life, mainly because of hurtful relationships in her older childhood years. Her life sometimes felt like an open, festering wound. Deep inside she felt alone in the world. Some days the hurt was overpowering. Sometimes she behaved in ways that were self-destructive.
This young lady had a dog she loved dearly. There was no hurt from him, and he became her “confidant.” When she didn’t feel anyone could understand, she would often just talk to him. She knew he was just a dog and could not understand, but still, she felt no judgment from him. He was more like a friend, and being around him made her feel better.
One cold winter day the dog needed to go out for a walk. She was very sick that day, and even though she didn’t feel up to it, she put his leash on and took him outside. Everything was fine, but somehow the leash came unhooked, and the dog took off. She chased him to try to catch him. He seemed to think it was a game, so he just ran off. She ran until she couldn’t run any further. One of her greatest fears was losing this dog. Exhausted and nauseated, she finally just sat down and began crying. But the dog was not as far away as she thought, and he heard her. So, he walked quietly to where she was and sat down beside her. She was able then to re-attach the leash and return home.
A thought came to mind after this. She realized how angry and sad she was when her dog ran away from her, and then how relieved and glad she was when he returned. That is when a truth came: that must be a little of how God feels when people run away from Him but then return to Him. That’s when she decided that, like her dog, she had run away from the Lord, and that she needed then to return to Him. For the first time, she understood that God is glad when His children return to Him.
Repentance is returning to the Lord.
Lord, Make us aware every day of our need to keep returning to You. Amen.