Springtime in the Soul
by Louis F. Morgan
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24, NIV).
Spring has arrived, and the world around us has awakened from its slumber. The whole earth is breaking forth in a song of praise to God. The cheerful chirping of the birds, the evidence of new life springing forth in the bright colors of flowers and budding trees, and the renewed warmth of the sun are all reminders that winter's long night is quickly ebbing.
With winter past, summer is just ahead; but for now we bask in this balmy stage of transition.
Such is the state of our natural world, but are we still battling the cold blizzards and gray days of winter in our spiritual lives? It's time for a springtime of renewal in our inner selves as well. How can we come to that point in our lives in Christ where we walk with Him in the sunshine and enjoy the refreshing breezes of His love? How do we learn to rest in the assurance that all is well, knowing that we are secure in Him?
Grace for Both Sinner and Saint
Christians readily agree on the need for sinners to surrender their lives to Jesus but too often fail to recognize the depth of God's grace that brings personal assurance of His presence and sufficiency in their own lives. Sadly, we often accept only a partial measure of grace, feeling that we must perform some great service to merit our salvation and atone for past sin.
It's true that we should desire a lifestyle of service to God and mankind; and when we do surrender ourselves unreservedly to God, good works will indeed flow out of our lives. But good works themselves can never pay for our past sins. There is absolutely nothing within our human abilities that can ever be a suitable recompense for our wrongs. Christ's provision alone has brought for us victory over sin through His shed blood on the cross (Psalm 103:12; Galatians 3:13, 14; Colossians 2:14).
When we sincerely surrender our lives to Christ and fully accept His grace, He enables us to live victoriously. We need to realize His grace is greater than our guilt. When we allow Him, He removes the heaviness of sin, the bondage of guilt, and the dark clouds of winter that have covered our souls. The heavy darkness will be replaced with the exhilarating freshness of a spring morning as we embrace God's provision for a better outlook and way of living.
Life in Abundance
Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). Since that is a stated purpose of His coming to earth and giving His life for us, how happy we make our Lord when we live up to our fullest potential in Him. Because of Christ's victory over death through His resurrection, we have assurance of this same victory over death, as well as the would-be hindrances in our spiritual lives (1 Corinthians 15:57). Yes, we have been given the wonderful privilege of experiencing springtime in our souls.
Trials, guilt from past sin, feelings of worthlessness, painful memories, hurtful relationships, or even religious routines rob Christians of their peace and joy in Christ. He stands ready and willing to bring us into a new season if we will trust Him. If He can breathe new life into a lump of clay, He can certainly bring us spiritual renewal.
God wants our lives to blossom in Him. Even when it seems that the spiritual seed that was planted when we first believed has gone into a dormant stage, the cold of winter may be only a time of strengthening. Be assured that when our souls reach "springtime," the seed will grow into beautiful, colorful, joyful creations that will bring pleasure to God.
We will be showered by rain, and the storms will come, but God has promised to keep us through difficult times. These serve not only to strengthen us in our Christian walk but also to enable us to encourage others who will experience the same trials--either from within or without.
May we continue to seek the Lord and allow Him to cause the winter to pass and springtime to fill our souls.
(Published in the April 2003 issue of the Church of God Evangel.)
I am a professor, author, librarian, historian, and speaker living in beautiful Cleveland, Tennessee-- but I will always call Mississippi "home." I enjoy my work at Lee University and my hobbies include traveling, being outdoors, hiking, fishing, gardening, writing, reading, and movies.