There once was a story about a shoplifter who writes to a department store and says, "I've just become a Christian, and I can't sleep at night because I feel guilty. So here's $100 that I owe you." Then he signs his name, and in a little postscript at the bottom he adds, "If I still can't sleep, I'll send you the rest."
That is about how some people think of repentance…That is like sorta changing. But the Bible teaches repentance is about total change.
Most of us know we need to change areas of our lives. And for those who aren’t aware of the change they need, I suggest you ask your spouse, your children, or someone who works with you. Repentance in the bible is not really about some colossal one day changes. Like one day I am smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day. I go to sleep that night and tomorrow I wake up never wanting a smoke…. No, that is a miracle of grace… and it happens a lot.
But repentance really means to change your thinking. The word “repent” comes from the greek words meta and noieo: to think differently. We change because we repent, change our thinking.
Ephesians 4:23-24 (NASB) and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
God has given to us, by his grace, this New Man who has New thoughts, and by those thoughts we really change. I used to think one way about: money, women, future, family, myself, sex, etc. But repentance means I have put on this new man and think differently about all these things…and because we do, we change…. Really change.