Essentially I see repentance as a change of life. The word from the Greek in the New Testament means a change of mind, and that's important for starters. But unless that becomes a change of life, it really doesn't matter, because true repentance is about the whole person, and it involves a 180 degree change. And a change that is ongoing.
This has come alive in my life. In regard to a troubling relationship in which I harbored attitudes which I felt were justified, yet were not right. I struggled. But finally I acknowledged my sin to God and to the brother, and then I kept my mouth shut, seeking God's help in a number of ways. It's amazing, the new relationship I have now with this brother. And this entire scenario has impacted my life, I hope for good. So that I'll never be the same again. While realizing that God's work in me is ongoing, and a long way to go toward the goal of becoming more and more conformed to the image of Jesus.
Am I talking about sinless perfection here? Of course not! What I am getting at is that while being sorry for the right reason is good, it's not enough. While believing I'm wrong, that's not enough. What is needed is no less than a change of life. I must be quiet, pray, wait on God, and seek by the Spirit, to live in the new way in Jesus. I may have to get other Christians to pray for me, the first for me being my loving, faithful wife. And we may need counsel from some brother or sister.
And when we somehow get off track from the way in Jesus, we simply need to repent and ocnfess our sin sometimes to our pastor, or a good brother or sister, who can then tell us that we are forgiven in Jesus ("the power of the keys"- Luther, but more importantly, Jesus, here and here). We go in assurance of those words that our sins are indeed forgiven upon confession through the blood of Christ. And we pray "the Lord's prayer", or the "Our Father" prayer for the forgiveness of all sins we are not aware of.
So repentance is ongoing. And at the heart of it is change. Change for a new life! The life God has for us now, in Jesus.
What might you like to add to this?