I recently heard someone say they are tired of politics as usual. My first thought was: Who isn’t? At this point, I’m wondering if I can simply endure until the November election is over. Are we not all tired of the blame game, the partisan hullabaloo, the despicable name calling, and the smear and slam strategy? And where has it gotten us? We are a nation more divided than ever before, and at a time when we most need to stand arm-in-arm against the enemies of our freedoms, our values, and our heritage.
But then I am also bold enough to say that I’m tired of Christianity as usual. Do we not have some of the same blame-game characteristics in our ranks? How about the denominational hullabaloo or the despicable name calling among Christians, not to mention the smear and slam strategies used against our own church members? Is it possible that the Church of Jesus Christ is more divided today than ever before? And is it not at a most critical time in which we should be standing arm-in-arm against the enemies of our religious freedoms, values, and heritage?
I am personally ready for some refreshing from the Lord! I’m ready to be part of the Lord’s army fighting to win the battle against the devil and not against my fellow Christian soldiers. Let’s take a look at a refreshing promise found in Acts 3:19 ~ “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.” (NAS)
When I first read this, I didn’t think it was the verse I was looking for. I searched for others, but the Holy Spirit brought me back to it encouraging me to take a closer look. Finally, I saw it. Read it again. There is a prerequisite to getting the times of refreshing from the Lord—repent and return.
Does Christianity ever feel like a set of rules to follow or some formulas that only work part of the time? Ever get thirsty for something fresh from God? Do we not long for a cool drink of spiritual water for our dehydrated souls? If so, we have a clear directive: repent of our sins and turn away from them. But you say, “That is a hard word.” Maybe not. It could be a loving and encouraging word. Think about it—what if you are lost in a desert without water and growing weaker by the minute? Suddenly you see a sign pointing in a clear direction that reads: “Water well ahead.” Would that not be a loving and encouraging word? Certainly! So it is with God’s Word pointing us to His refreshing.
Tired of politics as usual? There’s not much we can do about that except to pray for godly leaders and vote accordingly. Tired of Christianity as usual? There is something we can do about that: repent and return! Repent of how we’ve judged others. Repent of things that cause disunity in the church. Repent of our acceptance of sin in our culture. Repent of our slackness in worship and reverence of God’s house and His Word. Repent of following after other gods. Then turn to God, draw close to Him, get into His presence, ask for cleansing, and pray until you feel His love and forgiveness flood your soul. Let Him refresh you with the life-giving Spirit, and don’t stop short of the rivers of living water that flow out of your innermost being (John 7:38).
God’s presence is the only place to get the refreshment we so desperately need—the refreshing our hearts cry out for. He has clearly told us how to get it, and now the rest is up to us. Why, I already feel a cool splashing of spiritual water on my dry and thirsty soul! ~Janie