Change Your Mind First

In the next few days, Orthodox Christians will be celebrating the Feast of Epiphany (also called Theophany) which commemorates the Baptism of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. During this Feast many references will be made to repentance. "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" But, what does it mean to repent?

When I ask most people to define the word "repent" I'm given such examples as "stop sinning" or "ask forgiveness." While it is a good thing to stop sinning and to ask for forgiveness, those are both by-products of true repentance. The Greek word which is translated as repentance is μετάνοια which is better translated as "change your mind" or change the way you think. Naturally if you are able to change the way you think about life, to be more consistent with how God wants you to think, your behavior will be altered, but the mind shift comes first.

As with most other behavioral changes, we must change our mind first, then our body will follow. So if you want to stop sinning, change the way you think about life to be more consistent with God's mind, and you will have a better chance.