Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
What comes to mind when you hear the word refreshing? I’m reminded of the hot summer days of my youth. That was before video games when it was still safe to play outdoors. From early in the morning until dark we played baseball, relived the battles of WWII, road our bikes, and played cowboys and Indians. But many days, when we could get our hands on a nickel, we stopped at Art’s Service Station on Main Street for a bottle of Coke. The big red machine with a silver handle dispensed a perfectly chilled bottle of cola mixed with ice. For hot and thirsty kids, those frosty soft drinks were a little bit of heaven.
Those brief episodes of refreshing are long since gone and never to be repeated. But there is an incomparable refreshing that can be experienced forever.
For refreshing to occur there must be something from which we need relief; a tough day at work, fatigue from doing housework or mowing the grass, or stress from problems. God’s refreshing relieves us from the guilt and the penalty of sin. The new birth invigorates as nothing else.
But many lost people aren’t burdened by sin. They possess what the Bible refers to as hard hearts. God’s offer to wipe away their sins has no appeal to them. Jesus encountered this hardness of heart in His earthly ministry.
“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15
I’m no expert on the various addictions, but it is my understanding that before healing can take place, there must be acknowledgement the problem exists. You must identify it, own up to it, and desire to be freed from it.
So it is with God’s gift of salvation. He heals when we acknowledge our sin guilt.
As Christians, it’s often difficult for us to understand why some people have no interest in the Lord or all He represents. They quickly shutdown any attempts at sharing our hope in Christ.
How sad to be deathly sick and not know it. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happening with those who carry no burden for their sin. When their hearts are hard they can’t be helped.
When I first became involved in evangelism, I was frustrated by the lack of conversions and took it personally. Then one night, while visiting in the home of a young couple, I had barely gotten into my memorized presentation when they both said they wanted to pray to accept Christ. What happened? The Holy Spirit had prepared their hearts.
That’s the key for your hard-hearted loved ones. Even though they don’t want to hear what you have to say, they can’t stop you from praying for the Lord to warm their hearts. And when that happens the good news will be the healing balm they need.
Two instructions are given in our focus text. “Repent…and turn to God.” Both commands require turning. Turn away from sin and turn toward God.
Repentance involves awareness that things aren’t right between the sinner and God. It’s accompanied by remorse and a desire to change. Then it is followed by a willful choice to turn to God through Christ. The refreshing comes when the sin burden is lifted and the newly redeemed believer realizes they will be empowered by God to live a godly life. Righteousness previously unattainable can now be theirs through the help of the indwelling Spirit.
This refreshing from God is accessible every day in our walk with the Lord. That old sin burden is forever gone. And for those sins that popup along the way, the Lord is faithful to forgive when we approach His throne of grace. Burden lifted. Instant refreshment.
Do you need the Lord’s refreshing today? Then confess your sins now and have that burden lifted. Do you know someone whose heart is hard and unreceptive to the gospel? Then pray for God to warm their hearts to His good news.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Manage Anxiety
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.