And spring is a time of moral renewal. If it is about vindication and restoration, it is also, maybe more so, about sanctification:
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there. (Isaiah 35:8-9)
In spring, God gives our hearts and lives a thorough cleaning, top to bottom. Areas in our lives where we’ve compromised, become tainted, allowed a bitter root to grow or some poisonous attitude to creep in or some secret to harbor or some noxious habit to take hold or some foolishness to befuddled us — God comes in and scours it all spotless.
I love this about springtime most of all. I love the way God renews my spirit. The way the things inside me that have become dark and dank and musty are flooded with light, washed and rinsed and disinfected. Back in the late nineties I went through one of the most spectacular springtimes of my life. I experienced all that I’ve talked about — emotional renewal that felt like vindication, a second wind that felt like physical restoration. But what was the best was the moral cleansing. It wasn’t that I was wallowing in sin. More wallowing in self-pity. I had lost the joy of my salvation, and I had a scab of cynicism on my wound.
And then, suddenly and all at once, it broke, and God began to renew a right spirit within me. Cynicism gave way to hope and boldness. Self-pity was replaced with sound-mindedness. The joy of. my salvation came back in a rush, and I thirsted and hungered after righteousness.
Since I’ve told you I spent a while in winter recently, you might be worried about my fitness to be a pastor or a Christian author, dispensing moral and spiritual guidance. I didn’t in that season slip into a morass of sin and rebellion. But I was weary and had to fight a spirit of jadedness. My heart crusted with pessimism. Wrong attitudes accumulated. For me, the accumulation was mostly self-pity. I could, in a single evening, nurse a woe-is-me feeling from a twitch to spasms to convulsions. But I was getting sick of it. I wanted the whole cellar cleaned out.
As spring stirred again, it happened. With strengthened hands and feet, ears to hear and eyes to see again, God as my vindicator and restorer, holy things took root once more where selfish things had overspread.
Unclean things and devouring beasts stopped walking the road with me.
* * *
Vindication. Restoration. Sanctification. Emotional renewal, physical renewal, moral renewal: these herald spring. They’re what spring produces in rich profusion. They are gifts and they are invitations. The opportunity that spring provides — to grow things in abundance — can be missed or seized. The next chapter is about seizing spring’s opportunity. But before that, Isaiah has two more images that describe springtime of the heart.
~ Darren’s Comments ~
I love this about springtime most of all. I love the way God renews my spirit. The way the things inside me that have become dark and dank and musty are flooded with light, washed and rinsed and disinfected. Back in the mid-eighties I went through one of the most spectacular springtimes of my life. I experienced all that I’ve talked about — emotional renewal that felt like vindication, a second wind that felt like physical restoration. But what was the best was the moral cleansing. It wasn’t that I was wallowing in sin. More wallowing in that I was looking for a God-ly mentor. I had lost the joy of my salvation, and I had a scab of cynicism on my wound.
Spiritual winters are not uncommon to me since God has granted me that prayer request from long ago that I would be closer to Him. The only way to get even closer to God is unfortunately experiencing spiritual winters. Where you can do nothing, and God gets all the credit. So it has taught me to rely on Jesus in which I had someone to whom I can commiserate and pull me out of the slump I was in because He was there already (1 Peter 2:21). Then, like a holy awakening, God put a desire in my heart. I wish I could say it was only once like the time I was just a preadolescent when I had this mentor in the private Christian school I went to. It was a couple of months before graduation, and the guy was in the twelfth grade. Somehow, the Holy Spirit clued me in on that certain someone was not returning next year; he’d be heading off to college.
That happened at school. However, when I got home, I began to scour the Scriptures looking for something that would help me. I began with just opening up God’s Word and picking a random spot. I tried that method a few times without anything. I tried to stretch the meaning, but ultimately God’s Spirit told me that it was wrong. I looked at Genesis, about the true story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I went a little further to the true story of Joeseph and his brothers. And then when I was finished trying to find solace in that but didn’t, I moved on to the amazing things that happened in Moses’ and Joshua’s life. Still nothing. Then I made my way to a familiar Psalm:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
(Psalm 23:1-6 KJV)
Still no solace. But I didn’t want to give up as was drilled into me at a young age from pastors and my Christian school — God is a personal God. He seeks and cares about what is going on in your life. So, now was the time that I could use Jesus Christ if what the pastors and the Christian school were telling me was correct. As I turned to the The Holy Word of God, Iwas in a desperate mode not wanting to give up. The Holy Spirit directed me into the book of Proverbs to find out what the wisest man (Solomon) apart from Jesus had to say. It took me a good long while before I found this verse because all I really wanted was a best friend in whom I could share with the goings and the comings of my day.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 KJV
And, then, suddenly and all at once, it broke, and God began to renew a right spirit within me. Cynicism gave way to hope and boldness. My wanting of a God-ly mentor was Jesus Christ, Himself. He replaced worrying with sound-mindedness. The joy of my salvation came back in a rush, and I thirsted and hungered after righteousness.
Yet the pain of that guy who I put up as my mentor was still there and lingered there for a couple of months. However, I know I had the best friend that anyone could have, Jesus. Maybe you, too, are going through a similar circumstance? Maybe you need to let down your stubborn pride and give into Jesus? Maybe you need to rededicate your physical life to Jesus so that you can join all the saints, angels, and the God-head in heaven? Maybe you did not stumble across this particular post, but the Lord Jesus Christ is trying to convict you of the sin in your life? Maybe? Most definitely.
If want to join the Lord’s army, it is simple. Confess your sin to Jesus Christ, and you will be on your way to paradise where Jesus lives. It’s just that simple. If you do accept the simplicity of the Gospel, it is your responsibility to foster growth in Him through God’s Word.
Here is one of many links that will get you started on the journey:
Welcome to the family of God if you choose to accept! 😇
~ Darren L. Beattie, The Soul Blogger ~