Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. These are the words that kicked off the ministry of both John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17). Although I knew this, the Lord really highlighted it to me again this week – and then as I studied it – I felt the Holy Spirit begin to talk to me about the Kingdom coming near to us.
The word repent in Greek is metanoia(Strongs G3341) and it means ‘a change of mind’. In the minds of most Christians the primary meaning of ‘repent’ is to look back on past behavior with sorrow, self-reproach, or contrition, sometimes with an amendment of life. But I do not believe that this conveys the essence of what Jesus or John the Baptist were saying.
Repentance starts with a change of mind. The informing and changing of the mind stirs and directs the emotions, which in turn urges a change. One can then use your will to act differently. I had never really thought about it like this. I believed that I had to feel ‘bad’ about what I had done and then decide to change. But no, we need to think differently so we can see that our thinking does not align with God’s ways. Then we can be convicted by the Holy Spirit and be saddened by the realisation that we have fallen short of the glory (Romans 3:23) and change our behavior.
Now we begin to see why both John and Jesus start by proclaiming, REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. They are saying consider your ways, change your mind, you have thought amiss, think again – why? Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. There was a change of dispensation. The way things worked had shifted. The government of heaven was about to manifest on the earth. The world looked the same, but it was not. The nature of man’s reality had changed and he needed to adjust his thinking.
I believe that these words have the weight of the Holy Spirit on them for us today. God is saying again, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. I am bringing My governmental rule into the earth realm. You need to change your mind about some things. You have believed some things that do not align with My Kingdom. Repent, consider your ways, change your mind so that the Kingdom of God can manifest through you.” This is not about salvation, it is about being an active part of the manifestation of the governmental rule of God in the earth.
God longs to manifest His Kingdom on the earth in a greater measure. At the moment, He is unlocking mysteries and opening secrets that have been sealed up for many years. And the enemy is scrambling to stop Him. I have come to see that the first place the enemy uses to stop the release of Kingdom rule is within us. He uses our own mindsets and beliefs to stop us from receiving what God is trying to release to us. A quick look at church history confirms this over and over. Martin Luther, establishing the truth of ‘the just shall live by faith’ was met with righteous indignation by the religious leaders of the day. They could not receive the ‘new’ truth because their mindsets were so entrenched in a lie that had been handed down to them. Our own mindsets, that are contrary to the truth of the Word, are the very weapons the enemy will use to stop the kingdom being established in and through us. This is why we have to metanoia, change our mind, and allow Him to reform our thinking.
In the last 2 months, I have found myself seriously confronted by my own mindsets. I have experienced things that I know are from God, my spirit discerns with them, but my mind is offended. It wants to react in offense and unbelief. My mind wants to insist that it is right and God is wrong. As I have struggled with this, I realize that pride is my biggest problem. I like to be right. I hate the thought that I could be thinking wrongly about something. (How sad is that!) But God requires us to humble ourselves, admit that our ways are not His ways and allow Him to open our eyes and the scriptures to teach us His truth. Then we have a choice whether we want to submit ourselves to His Word and allow it to change our thinking and subsequent actions.
This process is a challenging one. It requires humility. It requires perseverance and study. It does not happen overnight. You see mind-sets are fortified opinions that are set in their ways. Mind-sets are strongholds. Mind-sets lock everything into an unchanging place. Mind-sets keep truth from coming in and they keep lies from being removed. Mindsets will stop you from being who God wants you to be. God is looking to establish His kingdom on earth, but we have set ideas about what that should look like. And these ideas, which do not align with His, are holding us back. Our mindsets are holding God back from manifesting His kingdom through us! (How crazy is that!)
The enemy is using our own wrong beliefs to stop us laying hold of what God wants to give us in the season. The way we think can cause us to write things off and not even consider them because they our outside of our beliefs. The Pharisees completely missed Jesus because they held to their old mindset. Religion and pride had hardened their mindsets to such an extent that they missed the very thing they had been waiting for.
In this season, do not place your beliefs above God. Accept that, just perhaps, we do not know and understand everything about God. Be prepared for Him to show you something you have never seen before. Better still, ask Him to shake your mindsets. Give Him permission to rock your world. Do not let pride keep you in a prison of lies. Remember, He gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. (James 4:6). Don’t be a Pharisee!
The Kingdom of God is at hand…. What are YOU going to do?