A Daily Word from the Word for New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” – Matthew 3:2b
I already hear some you saying “Whoa, Brother Matt. Be easy on this New Year’s Day. Keep the volume down. Don’t go all John the Baptist on me.” I am going JTB (John the Baptist) on you, my brothers and sisters, but it’s not what you think :-). First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Second of all, let’s get down to business, Kingdom business, that is! Go get some coffee, pop something for your headache, get some antacids, and let’s roll into 2013 in style—Kingdom style! While some of you were at the club last night, and now want to blame the devil for your troubles (when it was really you) :-), I was at my favorite kick-it spot, ringing in the New Year at Faith Center in Rockford, Illinois; kicking it with God my Father, Jesus my Savior and Big Brother, Uncle Holy Spirit my Helper, my apostle, prophets, pastors, and all (well, mostly all) the saints. There were even some sinners there too! We take ‘em all! Got your coffee? Good. Okay, let’s go!
The Greek word for “repent,” as used in this verse, is metanoeo (pr. met-an-oh-e-o), which means “to think differently or afterwards, to change one’s mind for better, reconsider, feel compunction, to exercise the mind, heed, understand, consider, perceive, comprehend, understand” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
We are to reconsider, perceive, comprehend, understand, and change our minds for the better, for the purpose of preparing our thinking for kingdom thinking. We are to come out of earthly thinking, which is lowly thinking, and come up to a higher place of kingdom thinking, so that we can perceive and behold the high things of heaven, which is the abode, the dwelling place of the Father. In order to raise ourselves, our level of consciousness to the royal things, and set our minds on Jesus Christ, we must loose and lose those things, those strongholds, those devices, that are holding us back and keeping us in the lowly places of this world.
In order to go higher, stay higher and soar higher, we must shed the dead weights; which are wrong relationships, wrong mentalities, affections, things, places, and devotions that are keeping us grounded. We are to “Set our minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). And we achieve this by “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We must focus on the Cross of Christ, where that great Divine Exchange took place. Where, through the Divine Act of an obedient and sinless Son, Jesus took on the penalty of our sin, which is death; and then placed on us, the blessings of an obedient Son, which is life. It is at the Cross where the Savior of the world, the Son of God and the Son of man, decreed that “It is finished.” And everything that separated human beings from God, everything that contributed to our demise and death was nailed to the cross once and for all. I Corinthians 15:54 shouts from the high places in heaven that “death was swallowed up in victory!”
Conviction swallowed up condemnation, healing swallowed up suffering, prosperity swallowed up lack, acceptance swallowed up rejection, adoption swallowed up orphans, love swallowed up hate, peace swallowed up turmoil, ease swallowed up disease, kindness swallowed up cruelty, compassion swallowed up callousness, joy swallowed up sorrow, gentleness swallowed up gruffness, patience swallowed up disregard, certainty swallowed up doubt, perfection swallowed up imperfection, restoration swallowed up defilement, wholeness swallowed up brokenness, found swallowed up lost, and repentance swallowed up regret.
Jesus Christ died for us so that we could trade up, and be seated with Him and in Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), so that we could become more than conquerors. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He [Jesus] that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
In order to accept the Savior’s gift of trading up, we must look up. In order to look up, we must shed those things that keep us looking down or prevent us from looking up. And in order to trade up, we must look to the One who traded down for us—Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Repentance isn’t about condemnation, it is about conviction. It is about freedom from condemnation only found in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1-2 gives a Holy Amen to this, as it testifies “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is in those low places that we die; but we are made alive in the high places of Jesus Christ.
My precious brother and my beautiful sister, come out of your low place. Forsake those things, those relationships, those mentalities, and those values that continually forsake and betray you by keeping you bound. Come into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ, and experience true life and true freedom at the foot of the Cross of Calvary, where the Savior stepped down from heaven and traded down, so that you could trade up by being raised up in Him.
Father, thank You that, in the person of Your Son Jesus Christ, You stepped out of heaven and into time to die for us, so that we may live. We thank You for that Divine Exchange that took place almost 2,000 years ago on the Cross of Calvary. Help us to behold the manner of love, Who is Jesus Christ, that You bestowed upon us, so that we could become your sons and daughters (1 John 3:1). In Jesus Name, we thank You for making the ultimate sacrifice, to be the only and acceptable Willing Sacrifice, the Lamb led to the slaughter, and dying so that we may live. We say the only inadequate words we have “thank You,” and “we love You.” Amen and Amen.
Take action! Challenge your thinking! Choose to trade up by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Choose to trade up by casting down everything that keeps you thinking low and from thinking high. Choose to put on the mind of Christ every single day. And continue to fight the good fight of keeping your focus on the Cross; for God, your High Place, has already given you the victory!
God tells us that we are blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). Be a blessing to someone by sending them this word of encouragement. If God did not already put someone in your spirit and on your heart who needs to read this uplifting message from above, simply ask your Heavenly Father who to bless on today. Forward this message right now by email, facebook, or twitter.
May God Bless you and keep you always.
With warmest regards,
And, in service of The Most High King,
Sign up to receive my nationally-syndicated “Daily Word from the Word” column and other publications. Follow me via twitter or through an examiner subscription by clicking on the link below. You can also bookmark this link and visit daily to read my column.
Receive my articles and other messages of encouragement by ‘liking’ HMD Ministries on facebook at www.facebook.com/hmdministries
Suggested tools for further study:
Matthew is founder of HMD Ministries, and sits under the leadership of Apostle Dr. Don Lyon of Faith Center Ministries International in Rockford, Illinois, where he serves as an associate pastor.
All references to Hebrew and Greek words and meanings, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance © 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishing. All dictionary references are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary © 2012, unless otherwise noted.