I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent (Luke 5:32 NLT).
First things are the most important things. What you place as first determines what will follow. Jesus began His public ministry by proclaiming, “Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (see Matt. 4:17). He knew if a person wanted to experience the goodness of God he or she must change.
When we ignore first things no matter how good our intentions may be, we suffer. If you want to experience heaven, you must first repent. But what is repentance? If you think it’s about changing your worthless life, you’re heading for dismal failure. First, you must come to know and believe the love God has for you.
Jesus focused His messages on God being Father. He accentuated the love of God and demonstrated it by taking away the sin of the world through His death on the cross. How you think about yourself in relationship with God must change first. Return to God as your Father believing He desires to reconcile with you, and He will receive you. Once you come to know God as your Father, His love will take your heart captive. It is then that your ways will change. The "got to's" will change to "want to's." The weights of sin will fall off. Your capacity to love and forgive others will expand when you know and rely on that God loves you first.