“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The other day, I was playing racquetball with some friends. I hadn’t played in months, so my endurance was not so enduring. We finished playing a match, and my mouth was parched. I desperately needed some water. I limped over to the water fountain and took a few drinks of the cold water. Ahh, it was so good! Each sip was so refreshing, so renewing. My strength returned, and I was ready for some more action.
God refreshes us in the same way. We are strengthened and renewed. We are alive again and ready for action.
How do we receive this refreshment from the Lord? How are we renewed and strengthened? In the above scripture, the first step is to “repent.” Repentance leads to refreshment.
So, what is repentance? How do I repent? Is it simply a confession of the failures in my life? Is it acknowledging my sins before God and asking for forgiveness? It’s all that and more. It’s action. It’s actively turning away from your sins and not going back.
When I was held in the grips of alcohol, I learned this principle first hand. After a binge, I would run to God and say, “Please forgive me. I repent. I’m sorry Lord.” Yet, a few days later, I would give in and drink some more. The cycle of confession and concession would continue.
I confessed my sins, but I was waiting for God to somehow zap the desire to drink out of me. Then one day, I experienced a wonderful victory. I said, “Lord, from this day on, I choose not to drink anymore.” I made the decision not to drink. That day, I experienced true repentance.
Repentance is a decision. It’s confession. It’s forgiveness. It’s action.
When John was baptizing people in the Jordan River, he issued this challenge to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
Do you hear what he was implying? It was as if he was saying, “Stop just mouthing the words of repentance, and act upon them! Let me see the fruit of your repentance.”
I encourage you to ask your Father one simple question: “Lord, is there anything in my life of which I need to repent?” Listen carefully to your conscience. Then, act.
Prayer: Father, reveal to me any sin of which I need to repent. Give me the strength to give up my worldly ways and turn to you so that I may receive a time of refreshing.