“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”(Proverbs 1:23)
Turning back now
Repentance can be a tough thing to wrap your mind around. There are all sorts of inroads from which one finds themselves doing the same thing they swore off and swore to God it was the last time. Jesus’ simple exhortation to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) carried with it, not just the confidence His bodily presence would bestow but also the added “neither do I condemn thee” qualifier that seems to be lacking (many times) from others’ admonition to the same.
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
Paul speaks to Timothy here of repentance as a gift. Approaching it from this angle keeps us humble. I suppose we could all desire repentance under the guise of simply making no mistakes, but there’s a deeper lesson to be learnt. One that starts in the heart and works its way out into our thinking. To where we’re not even touched by the same temptation anymore.
“And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town’ and when He had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, He asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up and said, I see men as trees, walking.” (Mark 8:23-24, emphasis mine)
For the trees
Interesting thing. Now, there may be two distinct cases of “blindness” here. Only because it’s a sort-of spiritual blindness that drives us to continue making the same mistakes. But in the case of the blind man from Bethsaida, Jesus had to give him some extra special attention. In much the same way as He touched the “woman taken in adultery” (John 8:3), He gave of His time and attention so as to fill whatever need kept these people from living lives free from the taint of sin–and therefore blindness. Notice, though, what Jesus tells the man after He restores His sight: “Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.” (Mark 8:26) In other words, the man needed a break from the atmosphere that kept him blind, whether physically, mentally (“men as trees”) or spiritually.
Now, this kind of separation from outside influences will aid in our fledgling commitment to repentance. But without having a little one-on-one with the Lord, our cold-turkey vow to change will only go so far. Jesus has all the strength you need to start, and keep going. He’ll lead you every step of the way.