This time last year, my wife and I were driving home to Kentucky to visit my side of the family, when just 20 minutes into our trip the transmission began malfunctioning. Leaving a red light, I pushed the gas pedal, but the car would barely move. It would take a couple miles to reach the speed limit of 55.
Deciding to continue on for another 30 miles, thinking the issue would resolve itself, we drove until we came to another stop. To test whether or not the issue was still there, I slammed on the gas, only to have the car move at a snail’s pace. I told Ashley that we had a serious issue and needed to turn around.
The word repent means to have a change of mind or to turn. After admitting we had a problem, we had to turn around. This is exactly what Paul proclaims as he makes his case to King Agrippa in Acts 26. He said, “repent and turn to God.” Stop living a self-ruled life and allow God to rule. Of course, this message is not always met with joyful acceptance (Luke 21:17). Paul was almost killed by the Jews (Acts 20:21) and Festus said he was “out of his mind” (Acts 20:24). Yet Paul did not back down. He continued to try to persuade Festus and others to follow Christ.
The same should be true for you and me. When we share the message of Jesus, it is important that we don’t shy away from telling people they must repent. In fact, this should be something we should be used to doing ourselves as followers of Jesus.
Martin Luther’s first of 95 theses said the entire life of the believer should be one of repentance. It should be something we practice daily. Thus, our familiarity with repentance allows us to communicate the gospel from a posture of humility. And when we are rejected, we don’t give up. We continue praying the world would “become as we are” (Acts 26:29).