Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Ac 2:38)
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you. (Pr 1:23)
I have been pondering the connection between repentance (or turning) and being filled with the Holy Spirit. I like the word "turning" for repentance. Repentance is more than just being sorry, it is more than even resolving to not do something again. It is a turning around from going one way to go a completely different way. It is proactive and not passive, it is positive and not negative. It involves the presence of a new direction and not just the absence of the old.
The way Jesus described repentance was radical, it involved words like, "If your right eye causes you to sin gouge it out and throw it away!" It is not just putting a sticky plaster over our sin, but laying an axe to the root of the tree. It's not just dealing with it as a one-off either - "gouge out the source of the sin", but make sure it doesn't come back - "throw it away!"
Paul has an equally radical approach: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them... when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light." Sin delights to hide in secret. It's enticing lie is, "no one will know". It is a creature of the darkness. The best way to deal with it is to turn the light on - to allow no secret place for it to hide. To make yourself open and accountable.
Repentance then is a turning from anything that is darkness and making active progress down the path that is light. The best way to repent is not to beat yourself up for what you did in the past, but to press ahead to lay hold of what Christ has for you in the future. It is not just a one off response to the Lord when we get saved, but an ongoing adjustment we make whenever we see anything that does not measure up when we look in the mirror that is the word.
And what is God's response to genuine repentance?... a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit!
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Ac 3:19-21)