Posted by: The Simple Guy | December 12, 2009

What is true repentance?

Daddy and Annika

In reformed circles there has been a move lately to focus on repentance.  This is good, don’t get me wrong.  Repentance is necessary, and much of what we call conversion is way too shallow.  However, one can go too far to this extreme as well.

We must look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  We must not look at our own repentance, our own faith, or the prayer we prayed way back when.  I have been so amazed at the work God has done in me since that night before Thanksgiving in 1975 when a four-year old boy was unable to sleep.  We lived in the country in the middle of Montana, in a rented house out in a wheat field.  My older brother and I (he was 5, and I was 4) had taken all of our outside toys into the shed to be ready for winter.  Then sparks from a burn barrel burned down the shed.  All of my little boy treasures went up in smoke.   This terrified grieving little boy could not sleep.  My mother rocked me in her chair (pictured above) and explained to me that some day everything that doesn’t belong to God will burn up.  I knew I wanted to belong to God, so I asked Him to let me be his.  (not even a theologically correct statement, everything is His, that’s why He can burn it)  But God used that moment to begin my life of following Him.  He used the theologically incorrect statement of a mother who was being Jesus’ hands and feet to bring a child into the kingdom.   I have often wanted to talk to her about that night.  You see, our winter’s coal supply was in that shed, and we lost it in one night.  Much of Dad’s logging equipment was in there.  There was a much greater loss than my toys.  Yet she was not wallowing in worry or self-pity, she didn’t tell that whining boy to shut up and go to sleep.  She used trial to point me to Christ.

Let’s be sure to live Christ, not just talk about Him.

Here is the Paul Washer video that got me thinking on this line of thought tonight.


"Daddy, I need you!"



  1. Ah! The simplicity of the gospel! Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves, and what a glorious, darkness shattering, despair destroying truth that is!

  2. When I started to read your post Paul Washer’s video where he explains about repentance fell on my mind. And then surprise… you put this video in your post.

  3. I really appreciated the video clip.

    Paul Washer is one of my favorite speakers and this piece is probably one of my favorites. I need to be reminded occasionally that “repentance” is a lifelong process of humbling myself before the Lord and learning.

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