“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.” ~ Acts 3:19
For my family, the month of July was one that could be quantified by number of miles driven. You could also number the nights we slept as a family at our home, or simply count the smiles on the face of our children enjoying a summer filled with fun trips and family time.
However, for me, the month of July has felt like a time of spiritual refreshment. To be more accurate, this time of refreshment probably began in mid-June after my wife and I attended the NICHE Conference in Des Moines. As I sat down for my quiet time tonight, the scripture quoted above from the book of Acts was recalled by my mind, as I reflected on my time of refreshment over the past month.
“Therefore, repent and return“
To put this passage in it’s proper context, Peter is preaching to the men of Israel after Pentecost. He has just finished detailing Israel’s sin and involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus. Talk about “blunt”. However, this is the place where we are all called to arrive. Peter could just as easily be preaching directly to us and to our own responsibility for the cross of Calvary. For it is not simply Israel’s role in the trial of Jesus which resulted in their need for repentance, but the underlying sin behind the acts for which he was nailed to the tree. We have all been there… we have our “disowning” of Christ (Acts 3:14), the moments in our lives where our sins have made a mockery of Jesus. Throughout the past 12 years of my Christian life, my mockery of Jesus has looked quite different each time. Have you considered that there may be sin in your life that makes a mockery of Jesus? I have found that this self examination does not happen often enough in my own life… (ouch!)
“so that your sins may be wiped away“
I am constantly amazed at the cause-effect relationships that are found throughout scripture. It continually points to the fact that God’s ways are not only higher, but wiser than my own! We are not told to “try and do better”, but to confess our sin and turn and go the other way. While scripture puts our sinful nature and sin’s ramifications in it’s proper perspective, we are never left without hope.
“in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord“
Not only are we given a clean slate before our Creator but a promise. We live in weary times. There are constantly things that pull at us and drain us of our time before the presence of the Lord. This is why the time of refreshing has been sweet to me.
This is where the rubber meets the road… will we examine our lives before a Holy God and His Holy Word? We will we acknowledge our need to repent and return to the Lord? Will we see our need to repent of our mockery of Jesus and actually do it?!
I pray for you (and me) that the answer is YES!!!