Jesus’ prophetic message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17) But repentance is never easy. It’s easy to have regrets and feel sorry for what you’ve done wrong, but actually “to amend your sinful life” (Luther’s phrase)-that’s never easy.
Why is it so hard to change? Because we are too attached and dependent on the things of this world, and in order to change we have to give them up, “die to them.” The intangible things are the hardest to give up, such as our self-image as superior to others; the praise of others or their good opinion of us; our control of something or someone that doesn’t want to be controlled; a treasured viewpoint that may be wrong; our possessiveness; our obsessiveness; etc.
In the last part of today’s scripture, Jesus urges us to be less attached to earthly treasures that pass away and more attached to heavenly things that don’t pass away. Repentance involves giving up our trust in the false security that earthly things promise, and putting our trust in the eternal security that only God can give.
Dear God, help us learn to trust in the things that will never pass away, especially in your unshakable love for us. Amen. — JH