This past weekend, weather was another wonderful blessing sent from the Lord. Saturday’s daytime high of above freezing, with very little wind and pure sunshine was a welcome sign of hope. True, a couple of days with temperatures above freezing do not mean spring is here, but they do impart a comforting hope that the brunt of winter has passed. It felt good to get out of our refuges from winter.
There is a different kind of bitter cold that many folks endure, unfortunately for some all their lives…winter of the soul. They wonder, “Will there or can there ever be a new springtime in my life?” The answer from the Gospel is a resounding “Yes!” “Yes there can be in Christ.” This truth is our emphasis during Lenten season and the aim of our Lenten Series messages, ‘Behold the Man’.
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
In the second sermon he ever preached (Acts 3:11-26), the Apostle Peter spoke to the Jewish people who were suffering in sin because of their unbelief in the One God had sent. In his message, Peter called for a change: to repent of sin and return to the God who loved them. The Lord calls all of us to do so through His Word that we might receive the promise He offers.
When winter recedes, it leaves behind a layer of grime on our vehicles, driveways and lawns. Sin unrepented of leaves the soul covered with uncleanness and guilt. Only water can clear away winter’s grime. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin. So, the Lord calls us to repent and return.
Peter’s call to repent and return was to prepare each heart for the message offered in God’s wonderful promise that the presence of Christ in anyone’s life brings a new and fresh start. How we all need to hear and believe this message. It is balm for the soul. That day several thousand souls in attendance came to believe in the crucified and resurrected Christ. For them, the refreshing times of spring had arrived.
It is one thing to endure a long winter of frigid weather because of where someone lives, but it is unnecessary to live under the winter of soul. While we all know that eventually even the most brutal winter will be followed by spring, anyone enduring the winter of soul feels a lifelong prisoner. This need not be so.
When the Lord through the Apostle Peter speaks of times of refreshing, He does not mean just a sentimental warming of the heart with kind words to make us feel good about ourselves. Rather, he means a wholesale change from sins removed and having the presence of Christ in our lives.
It bears repeating that repentance is not a seasonal event – it is a way of life. The lack of daily repentance eventually leads to the cold darkness that invades our souls. Lent is often mistaken as a temporary surrendering of something by a determined will and with a disciplined mind. Lent is to Behold the Man.
Lent can be a time of intentional reflection upon our daily lives and the depth of the presence of Christ within. While the call is to repent, the promise is hope-filled times of refreshing in Jesus. Are you giving all your troubles to Jesus? Is there a burden you need to give to Him? Is there still sin you need to surrender to His powerful forgiveness? Times of refreshing are upon us in Christ Jesus.
Welcome to springtime of the soul.