December 2
A Crucial Element
Acts 17:16-34
"... but now [God] commands all people everywhere to repent." (v. 30)

There are, of course, many reasons why some people move along the path of discipleship at a snail's pace, while others appear to cover twice the distance in half the time. It has much to do with the way we enter the Christian life. Those who have studied the manner in which people become Christians tell us there are two main ways of coming to faith in Christ. One is through a dramatic conversion, whereby a person confronted with the claims of Christ yields to Him in a single moment. The other is when a person moves more slowly into faith, and sometimes cannot even pinpoint the exact moment when he or she made the great surrender. What must be remembered is that both experiences are valid. The best evidence that we are alive is not our birth certificate but the fact we are going about our daily lives as living, breathing people. I myself find no problem when individuals say they do not know the day or hour when they committed themselves to Christ, providing they show evidence that they belong to Him by such proofs as a desire to be alone with Him in prayer, a longing to know Him better through His Word, and an eagerness to meet and have fellowship with other believers. But no matter how one enters the Christian life -- suddenly or slowly -- the most essential element is repentance. I have no hesitation in saying that if we do not understand what is involved in living repentant lives, then regardless of how we start the Christian life there will be no successful continuance.
My Father and my God, if repentance is so important -- and I see that it is -- then help me understand it more deeply. I am at Your feet. Teach me, dear Lord. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was Peter's message to the onlookers?
2. How important is repentance