While driving, a friend was listening to a Christian speaker on the radio. The speaker said, “Someone is driving on the road right now, and you need to turn your life over to God.”

My friend was convicted of his sin. “That’s me!” he said. He pulled his car off to the side of the road and wept as he repented of his sins and gave his life to Jesus. He experienced true repentance as he made a decision that involved an outward action of turning away from sin and turning to the Father.

The Bible tells us that God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Yet we seem to hear so little about repenting in many circles today. What does God mean when He tells us to repent?

The word “repent” means to change, to turn around, a reversal of decision and to transform. If you’re driving somewhere and discover you’re going the wrong way, you must turn around and go in the other direction. It means you change your mind and change your actions.

Repentance has little to do with how we feel. It has everything to do with a decision we choose to make. Theologian John R. W. Stott said, “A good description of repentance is resolutely turning from everything we know to be displeasing to God. Not that we make ourselves better before we invite Him in. On the contrary, it is because we cannot forgive or improve ourselves that we need Him to come to us. But we must be willing for Him to do whatever rearranging He likes when He comes in. There can be no resistance, and no attempt to negotiate on our own terms, but rather an unconditional surrender to the lordship of Christ.”

Let’s ask the Lord today, “Is there any area of my life that needs to change?” If He shows us anything, let’s refuse to negotiate and be quick to repent. This is the first step towards finding freedom.