Unrepenting Pheasant

Some time back, I cycled to chapel and found a couple of pheasants on the lane. The road to Salem Chapel is narrow (but not, sadly, straight) and the two game birds startled at my approach, running forward to escape my presence. We know that such birds’ taste is far superior to their intellectual capacity, and took several hundred yards of running to realise that a change of direction into one of the fields would better serve their purpose. Curiously, the younger of the two, a brown-feathered youngster, understood this more quickly than the fully fledged adult male. I was mildly amused by the sight of chasing pheasants on my bicycle, yet also pondering this similarity between this and the non-believer.

Many non-Christians come to assess their lives and are disappointed with what they see. They detect moral deficiency, general failings, unfulfillment and inner emptiness. Some of them seek to remedy this by simply working harder, or by turning to ‘wokeism’ with its hectoring self-righteousness, or to eastern spirituality and its attendant Buddha statues staring out to space with expressions of simpering serenity. Yet none of it works, none of it satisfies, and none of it brings about lasting moral regeneration. If anything, such efforts simply make one prouder, which is the greatest enemy to gospel acceptance. No, if we are to begin to be the people whom God intended us to be, we are to repent and believe the gospel. To repent means to turn around, to alter one’s path, to radically change direction. We no longer live for self, but for Christ. Where He goes, we follow; where He sends, we go. To seek self-improvement without repenting of sin is to be less wise than a foolish pheasant hoping to out-run a cycling pastor on his way to lead public worship.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38, NKJV