There’s a story of a Christian man who had anger management issues. He was prone to outbursts of wrath when the situations of life didn’t go the way he anticipated. One particular Christmas he took his family on an outing to cut down a Christmas tree. Well nothing seemed to go right. The kids were disinterested and fighting, the tree turned out to be crooked and it would just not stand perfectly straight after they brought it home. Being a perfectionist he worked up quite a sweat on a twenty degree day in December trying to make that crooked tree stand straight. Finally in total frustration, he chucked that tree out though the door and into the yard.
He had for years condoned his outbursts because of his genealogy of hot- headed people that came before him. He reasoned that he could not escape the personality trait since it ran in the ‘family’. In some ways he reasoned that God had made him that way.
The young father needed to repent. He needed to change his mind that his outbursts were sinful and that he was responsible for them, not God. Outbursts of wrath are the works of the flesh. Galatians 5:20 Secondly he needed to confess that to the Lord. I John 1:9 Thirdly he needed to understand that through the indwelling Spirit of God he had all the power necessary to effect change in his life. Fourthly as he by faith learned to depend on the Spirit of God to transform him through the word of God his actions began to change. The change is actually the intended result of repentance in a believer’s life so that one is being more and more transformed into the image of Christ and thus God is glorified. The change of action is the fruit of repentance. Luke 3:8-14
The apostle Paul had concern that some in the Corinthian church had not repented. Although they had come to faith in Christ, he feared they were still practicing the same sinful lifestyle before they were saved. Since we can’t see a change of mind, the only proof of repentance is a change of action. II Corinthians 12:21 Either they chose not to or by ignorance failed to appropriate the power of the Spirit dwelling in them to help them overcome the power of sin in their life. This would only result in a barren and unfruitful life. II Peter 1:8 Furthermore, failing to repent will eventually bring discipline from the Lord, “for whom the Lord loves He chastens.” Hebrews 12:5-11 In fact Paul himself warned that he would not spare if he came to them again. II Corinthians 13:2
It is clear from Scripture that whenever a believer takes a forward step in growing in Christ, it usually if not always begins with repentance of some kind. Know of anything in your life that needs changed for God’s glory? Repent! Then learn to cooperate with the Spirit of God through the word of God to produce the godly results, the fruit of repentance.