To repent means to turn around, to change your thinking and your direction and go the other way.1 The Bible teaches that every person has a Sin Nature—a deeply ingrained inner tendency to go our own way instead of following God’s way.2 When we follow our sin nature, we violate our conscience and break God’s commands by not loving Him and not loving our neighbor as ourself.3 The results are broken relationships, lack of peace, loss of purpose, anger, worry, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. The ultimate consequence of sin is death.4
You can pray a prayer of repentance like this: “God, I admit that I am a sinner and I deserve to die. I have broken your commands. I have not loved you as I ought to, and not loved my neighbor as myself. I repent of my sins. I turn from going my own way to go your way and obey you as Lord.”
The “gospel” (good news) of Jesus Christ is that we do not have to earn a relationship with God and pay for our sins by doing good deeds or religious rituals.5 Instead, God Himself took the initiative to come to us, being born as a man, suffering on the cross and dying in our place on the cross. He won the victory over sin and death by rising from the grave.6 God promises a new spiritual birth to those who believe in Jesus, trusting Him by faith.7 This new birth makes the believer a child of God, and begins a process of inner transformation8 that fills us with His joy, peace, and love, and the hope of eternal life.9
You can pray a prayer of belief like this: “God, I thank you that Your Son Jesus died and rose again the third day. I trust in him alone to save me from my sins and give me your abundant, new, spirit-filled life to transform me now, and to give me the hope of resurrection and eternal life.
The decision to follow Jesus begins with repentance and belief, but it is lived out by a daily commitment to live according to the pattern of life and teaching Jesus showed us.10 Some of the ways you can follow Jesus daily include:
Become a member of a local church. The church is the Body of Christ,11 the living expression of Jesus on earth. Joining a church means more than signing up for a human institution. It means you are committed to building authentic relationships with other believers for worship, growth, fellowship, and service together.
Read and prayerfully reflect on the Bible. God has revealed himself to us through the scriptures.12 The Holy Spirit uses the words of the Bible to give us understanding of who Jesus is and how we can live like Him as we study it on our own and in community with other believers.13
Serve others in humility. We enter into the experience of Jesus’ death and resurrection by “dying” to ourselves and our selfish desires so we can discover the joy of giving and living for others.14