Sometimes our lives can grow dim because we are no longer walking closely with the Lord like we used to. However, our God is so gracious that even after we have wandered away, he not only forgives our sins, but he also gives us times of refreshing (Act 3:19-21). In Acts chapter three, the phrase, “times of refreshing,” ultimately points to the return of Christ. Still, it also seems to include a sense of spiritual refreshment that comes to the individual believer here and now.
Think back to when you first came to know the Lord. The burden of your sin was heavy upon you as you felt the curse and judgment it demanded. Then someone pointed you to Christ, and through faith, your sins were washed away. Do you remember what followed? Do you remember being refreshed as the joy of the Lord became your strength? The world was just a little brighter, the mountains were a bit more majestic, and the heaviness of the world seemed lighter because you knew nothing could separate you from his love.
What we experienced during these times was the Holy Spirit’s work, as he bore witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). As Paul told us, even if the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16) because even in this fallen world, the Spirit has been given to us as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 5:5). As the Spirit works in our lives, our spirits are refreshed in the knowledge that our sins can no longer condemn us, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
However, this refreshing may fade. If we turn our focus to the things of this world, its vanities or trials, our intimacy with Christ can diminish. Like when Peter, walking on water, looked away from Jesus and began to sink. Maybe you are finding yourself in that place right now. Perhaps something has caught your eye that is luring you away from the Lord, and seeking God’s kingdom first is no longer your main desire. Maybe the glorious light of Jesus is not as appealing as it used to be because some lesser light has stolen your heart by promising you more than it can provide.
Our sinful desires tempt us, and as we give in to sin, it deadens our souls. As this process occurs, the Holy Spirit grieves within us, and a dimness can come back to our eyes as we once again try to shoulder the weight of this world without Christ’s abiding presence. So much so that we can sometimes begin to wonder if we were ever a child of God.
At this point, the enemy begins to mock us for taking the bait and tells us that we have gone too far. But the Spirit of God, who has never left you, has many ways of stirring you to remember the refreshing times you once had. Sometimes, out of the millions of things we could be reading online, he places a short devotion like this one in front of us. He moves us to recall the former times of refreshing for at least two reasons. First, to remind us that we are his child and give us strength as we deal with the sin in which we now find ourselves entangled, and second, to call us to repentance because the times of refreshing can be experienced again.
If you find yourself in this situation, and the joy of your salvation has been eclipsed by the cares and sins of this life, remember the times of refreshing you once had. Doing so will confirm that you are his child despite the enemy’s taunts. You will also hear the call to repentance saying, come back to your First Love, and as you “draw near to me, I will draw near to you” (James 4:8). And if you have never come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you too can be washed clean in the blood of Jesus, that times of refreshing may come.
2 thoughts on “Times of Refreshing”
You hit the nail on the head as far as my experience with Christ goes. Thank you.
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I needed to read this today. Some of my daily devotions have seemed dry to me lately, all the while I’m praying for a fresh fire to be reignited in me.
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