When God breaks His silence, it’s because He has something HUGE to say. One of the key traits of a Christ-follower is to develop the skill of listening to God – and immediately adjusting our lives to what He says. If this is not a primary objective of your life, it’s a good indication you are not following Jesus Christ.
There was a season when God was silent for 400 years. That’s nothing to gloss over. It was between the time of Malachi* and the opening words of Jesus Christ, recorded in Mark’s Gospel. When Jesus opened His mouth, He broke God’s silence in a massively significant way. His first words tell us something significant that we should do – throughout each and every day. When we get them into our regular way of life, we begin to walk in real freedom.
Remember: following God doesn’t limit us – it sets us free. So, what were the revolutionary words that slipped from Jesus’ mouth after such a very long time of silence, and what do they mean for us today? Here they are:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:15 (ESV)
Be careful reading that verse, because you might think you understand what Jesus is saying. There are two words in this verse that have tremendous significance for the real Christ follower. These words are “repent” and “believe.” The verb tense in the Greek language that Mark used would be better translated into English as “repent and keep repenting” and “believe and keep believing.” This magnifies the significance of Jesus’ words. A richer, truer understanding of His words would read like this:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and keep repenting, believe and keep believing in the gospel.”
Everyone who is now following Jesus had an initial moment of repentance and belief. There is an first time when a person comes to terms with Jesus being God, Savior and friend. But that is the new beginning of an entirely new life – and that life is to now be characterized by repentance and belief. Everything a Christ follower does is to be marked by a continually turn from selfishness and the pursuit of things that don’t matter, to selflessness and things that will last forever. In other words, the glory of self is something from which we need to repent not once or twice, but continually – every day – throughout every day. Everything we think, dream and do is to be marked by belief in the Son of God, Jesus, as our Master, Savior of everything. When we do this, we walk in freedom. Perpetual repentance and belief are the new traits that must mark the life of anyone who claims to be following Christ.
What about you? Are you repenting and believing throughout your day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The National Week of Repentance is coming, April 3-10. Watch the short video & sign up for the free resources for yourself, your family and your church. Participate in the livestreams. To get started, visit RevivalMatters.com. And, participate on Facebook and Twitter.
*Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet of the book that bears his name. You can find it at the end of the Old Testament, right before Matthew’s Gospel.