Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring to Life

This is a beautiful time of year. In our corner of North Dakota, it has been a long and cold winter and I know that many of us are glad for the change in weather. Farmers and gardeners alike get visibly excited to finally be able to get into that field or garden, till up that dirt and start planting. Students in school start to come alive again with anticipation of summer and the completion of another school year. The streets get cleaned up, the grass turns green and soon leaves will begin to bud on the trees.

More than just a change in weather, the arrival of spring reminds us of a very real and very important truth. It signals to us the revival of LIFE! The world simply seems to be more alive and full of adventure and promise when we see it coming alive. Spring is the time to plant seeds, and we do so with the hope and expectation that those seeds will do as they ought. We plant with the expectation that we will one day reap a harvest.

In the same way, God tells us in His word that we can have a spiritual "spring time" within our hearts, and that He plants "seeds" within us in order to watch them grow in our lives. First, let me say something about new life. In 1 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." There is a time in a person's life where they may have opportunity to see the cold hard ground of their heart in the warm sunlight of God as He begins to work within them. The one who responds to God by calling out to Him, asking for forgiveness and putting their faith and trust in Jesus, is then brought into a time of spiritual Spring, where new life begins.

The verse above contains a precious promise that I think many readers will appreciate. It says that "the old has passed away". That means that former sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean, and a person is literally able to begin a new life- in Jesus Christ. So many people feel a sense of overwhelming guilt because they know that there are issues in their past that separate them from a clean relationship with God. When we call out to God for help and forgiveness, God promises in His word that He will forgive those sins, and "remove them as far as the east is from the west." (Ps. 103:12) You are offered a new life, where the old life is wiped away! And while a person may have to deal with earthly consequences, there is a real sense of hope that all may be made well.

That verse also contains a second precious promise. Just like a farmer or gardener plants a seed in the ground with the hopeful expectation of a bountiful harvest, God has planned a lifetime of wonderful works to do in us and through us. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." God desires to reveal Himself to us, and one of the ways He does so is to lead us through many different experiences and opportunities for service. God has a plan of opportunity for you to take in life, and because He is with you, He will help you lay aside the things that slow you down and cause you to stumble. He will also give you the strength to do exactly what He wants you to do.

These are precious and hopeful promises from God. He truly cares for you and loves you deeply. He invites you to have a spiritual "spring time". Will you call out to Him?

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