Today’s Bible Reading:

If you click on the following references to read the Bible, it will open up the New Living Translation version of the Bible. This is the translation that I am going to use this year for my daily Bible reading and reflections.

Genesis 8:1-10:32
Matthew 4:12-25
Psalm 4:1-8
Proverbs 1:20-23

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Matthew 4:17 “From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

It is worth noting that the first word to come out of Jesus’ mouth as He began His ministry is “repent.” But it becomes even more important when we realize that this was also the first word to come out of John the Baptist’s mouth as he began his ministry.

Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’”

This elevates the word, repent. It draws our attention to it. It demands to be defined and obeyed.

What does repent mean? It simply means to have a change of mind. It means to make an about face, a U-turn.

Since the default mindset and behavior pattern of humanity is to sin and go against God’s commands, repentance calls us to change the way we’re thinking and acting. Repentance calls us to say “no” to sin and “yes” to the Lord.

So how do we know what sin is? How do we know what the Lord requires?

Contemporary Christianity makes the rules up as it goes. But biblical Christianity calls us to consult God’s Word. We cannot know what sin is and we cannot know what righteousness is unless we are reading and studying the Bible.

That’s why it’s so important to spend time in the Scriptures every single day. It tells us what sin is and it tells us what God commands. With that growing knowledge, we know what to turn away from and turn to (repent).

Friend, don’t just read your Bible each day this year. Listen to what God is saying to you as you read it. If you read something that God forbids, and you realize that you are living in disobedience, then repent. Turn from that sin.

If you read of something that God commands and you realize that you are not obeying, then repent and begin obeying.

To be sure, Christianity is so much more than simply obeying the rules. But obedience is at its core. We cannot truly be said to be a Jesus-follower if we are not obeying Him.

John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.”

But before we can obey, we must spend much time in God’s Word. We must repent of what we are doing that is wrong.

Hear the first word that came out of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ mouth as they began their ministries. Realize that repentance is really a good thing. It calls us away from sin and what would harm us. It calls us toward the Lord, righteousness, and what is ultimately for our good.

Hear, repent, obey, and be blessed.

Photo by Jim Wilson on Unsplash