[Jesus said to the leading priests and elders,] "But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go.
"Which of the two obeyed his father?"
They replied, "The first."
Then Jesus explained his meaning: "I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins."
— Matthew 21:28-32 NLT
While polite words and appearances are important for Christians, God is really concerned about our genuine, heartfelt repentance. To repent means to change both our hearts and our lives. One without the other is incomplete.
John the Baptist came preaching repentance. Jesus came preaching repentance. The early disciples came preaching repentance. The Gospel is about change. But the Gospel is about more than just change: It is about transformation — about being changed to be more like God , displaying all the qualities of the Spirit's work on us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-23). That kind of change requires the power of the Holy Spirit!
Almighty and loving God, please be patient with me and help me be more impatient with my weaknesses and sins as your Spirit seeks to do his work of transformation in my life. I do want to live to honor you and more closely reflect the character and grace of Jesus. Please give me wisdom to know your will, courage to stay away from sin, and a willing heart to seek after you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.