People resist repentance with determination! People who reject God refuse to repent. Christians resist repentance. Repentance requires change, and people fight change. The older we become, typically the more determined we are to resist change.
Nowhere do we resist change more than in our own lives. We understand what this means: "He (or she) is set in his (or her) ways!" It means the person is inflexible. It means the person is certain he or she is okay. It means the person never admits the need to change anything in his or her life. It means the person is stubborn and unyielding. "The world is wrong, but I am not! The church is wrong, but I am not! My family is wrong, but I am not! Everyone everywhere needs to change, but I do not!" As we increasingly become "set in our ways," we increasingly destroy our ability to repent.
The most certain element of life is change. Consider: conception to full term, unborn to born, infant to toddler, toddler to preschool age, preschool age to kindergarten age, kindergarten age to primary age, primary age to middle school age, middle school age to junior high age, junior high age to senior high age, senior high age to college age, college age to career age--CHANGE, ENORMOUS CHANGE! Consider: single adult to married adult, childless marriage to family with infants, family with infants to family with young children, family with young children to family with preteens, family with preteens to family with teens, family with teens to family with children in college, family with children in college to empty nest, empty nest to grandparents, grandparents to retirement years--CHANGE, ENORMOUS CHANGE!
The most certain element of spiritual existence is change. For the godly man or woman, every step in life from baptism to death involves the process of spiritual maturity. The godly person does not "learn it, get it right, and live by the same rules" throughout life. The godly person builds a relationship with God through Christ. The godly person constantly grows in his or her understanding of what it means to serve God. Service based on a relationship between the servant and his master is the product of growth. By its nature, growth is change.
An essential element of spiritual growth is repentance. By its nature, spiritual growth makes powerful, positive use of change throughout our lives to mold us in God's spiritual image by developing in us Jesus' mind and heart.
The problem? People want God's forgiveness without repentance. We want salvation, but we do not want to change. "Teach me the necessary rules and deeds without changing me!"
The reasons for people refusing to repent are numerous. Following are only four of the many.
Some people love what they have. Read Mark 10:17-22.
Some people are filled with a sense of their own goodness [self righteousness]. Read Luke 15:29.
Some people love evil. Read John 3:19,20.
Some people fail to see God's work in Jesus. Read Matthew 15:1-9.
Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 3, Lesson 4
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