How to Repent (God Wants You to Change Your Default Settings)

As last night’s post stated, repentance is one of the keys to getting God to answer your prayers. Below, Bishop T.D. Jakes explains how to repent and how not to repent.

How Not to Repent

“Esau did something stupid. Now, everybody in here has made a dumb choice about something or someone or some moment, and you live with the consequences of that decision nine months later, three months later, or three years later. We all live with the consequences of our own stupidity. What is disturbing to me … is not the stupidity with which Esau made a decision but it is rather that, when Esau got ready to change it, the Bible said he sought with repentance with many tears and found it not.

how not to repent

“[Esau] lost his future not just because he did something stupid but because he was unable to change what he had set in motion over his life. [That’s what] I want to deal with today. It is not the mediocre ideology of doing something stupid because that is common to all of us. But it is the crisis of being caught in a system of stupidity through which you cannot escape. Though you seek it with many tears, you feel trapped to repeat the same mistake over and over and over again, and you don’t know how to get out. …

the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

“[Esau] forfeited his greatest moment over a bowl of soup and an inability to correct a pattern — a pathology of dysfunctional decisions. …

esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup

“[A]ll of us know people who are stuck. Stuck in a pattern. You can go back through your life and see Dumb, Dumb Jr., Dumb III, Dumb IV, Dumb the Dumdum. And the real funny one is people who’ve been married four or five times and keep marrying the same person with a different name. … Didn’t you learn with the first serial killer you married? Why would you go and be attracted to another serial killer? You thought you were gonna change him, too? …

maybe my love can change him

“[The Bible says] Esau sought repentance. The word repentance, metanoia in the Greek, … means to change your mind. So, he sought a change of mind with many tears and found it not. … So, an emotional response does not equate to change. …

“Metanoia means a change of mind by pivoting direction. A change of mind that is so strong that you pivot direction. … It is the extreme change of mind that becomes so radical that it affects behavior. … These are directional changes where you say, ‘I’ve been going the wrong way, and I’m going to have to flip the whole thing around or I’m going to lose my future over a bowl of soup.’ …

flip the script

How to Repent: Change Your Default Settings

change your default“If you go on a computer, they have … what they call default settings. … The default sets in the computer some principles and ideas to which the computer is committed. It does not mean that you can’t function outside of the default. It just means that even if you deviate from the default, the computer will automatically take you back to the default settings. And if you don’t want it to do that, it’s more than changing the font, you have to change the default … because the moment you go out and come back in again, it will come back up to default.

“This is how most people live their lives. Because their default hasn’t changed, their situation hasn’t changed. … You’ve cried about it, but you keep going back. You’ve shouted about it, but you keep going back. You’ve even prayed about it, but you keep going back. … [And you wonder], ‘Lord, why do I keep going through the same things over and over again? I go to church now, I tithe now, I shout now, I leap now,’ and the lord sent me here to tell you … the problem is with your default. Until you change your default, you will always go back to being who you were before because you have never changed your mind.

“You change your friends.

“You change your address.

“You change your phone number.

“You change the songs you sing.

“You change everything else, but you didn’t change your mind. There is nothing as powerful as a changed mind. … There’s some people in here right now that used to do drugs. All kinds of drugs — crazy drugs. Strung out on drugs. People wouldn’t believe who you used to be. Your old friends never thought you would ever get away, but one day you got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you said, ‘Wait a minute. I’m not just going to change my clothes. I’m not just going to change my address. I change my mind. I completely change [my mind].’

“There are some women in this church [who] used to be easy. All they had to do was tell you you were cute. … One day, Mac Daddy rolled up on you and said, ‘Baby, I ain’t never seen nothing so fine.’ [And you said], ‘Wait. Wait. Wait. I change my mind.’ …

you changed your mind
Photo credit:

“I got sick of it. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I changed my mind. I changed my default setting. …

“How many people are gonna change some default settings? I’m gonna stop falling back into the same thing over and over again … so that I can have a new normal. That’s what repentance is — a new normal. A new default setting. I’m about to have a new normal. …

“[Repentance didn’t work for Esau because he sought it with emotions.] Let me tell you something that’s better than emotions — better than strong emotions. Better than strong emotions is a decision. I dare you to make a decision. … The prodigal son was in the hog pen, surrounded by [pigs], about to eat [what] the pigs ate, and all of a sudden, the Bible said, he came to himself. He didn’t change his clothes. He didn’t change anything else. All he did was change his mind.”

prodigal son changed his mind as he was about to eat pig food

you are one decision away from a completely different life

4 thoughts on “How to Repent (God Wants You to Change Your Default Settings)

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