I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
— Acts 20:21
A lot of times I think of repentance as a negative action (an act of stopping or refraining from something). We use phrases like “turn from sin”, which is true of repentance, but it gives the idea that repentance is defined by what we turn from. Today’s verse is a good reminder that repentance isn’t defined by what we turn from, but rather who we turn to. Notice that Paul told the people they needed to “turn to God in repentance”. Repentance is the means by which we turn to God. When God tells us to repent, He isn’t telling us to leave sin; He is beckoning us to come to Him. When we come to God, we consequently leave the things He hates. In the same way the command to “come here” is impossible unless you “leave there”. The beautiful part about the gospel is that when we resolve to God, He enables us to turn from sin.
When you are confronted with something you need to repent from, don’t think of it as a negative act of leaving something bad, but rather a positive act of drawing close to someone good. When your heart and soul is focused on Christ, the Spirit will create the act of turning from sin.
Heavenly Father, help me to see repentance as an act of drawing near to you rather than an act of drawing away from sin. When my focus is on you, I trust that you will pull me away from the things I need to be pulled from. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN!