There is something so refreshing about a gentle rain. I had a chance recently to hear a message in Kigali, Rwanda, from Pastor James Muyango about Acts 3:19. Following an incredible miracle, where Peter and John are used by God to heal a lame beggar, Peter tells the crowd of onlookers, “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).
Just this week, I was challenged by a friend to consider what “idols” I may have indulged in my life. He said that every idol we cling to can be traced to one of the following roots: Control, Comfort or Significance. I have been meditating on this idea all week, and discussing it with trusted friends, and I think he’s right. One of those three roots (and sometimes a combination of two of them), is at the base of everything that would draw me away from God.
So how do we fight this battle? We need to turn to God. To repent—to let go of everything that we naturally cling to and to cling to God instead, as the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
In the New Testament, the Greek words translated “repent’ usually mean “to change one’s mind.” In a fuller sense, repentance is not just feeling sorry, or changing one’s mind, but is turning around, a complete alteration of the basic motivation, values and direction of one’s life. This is why the best translation is often “to convert,” that is, “to turn around.” It also helps to explain why John the Baptist utilized baptism as an expression of this repentance, not just for obvious sinners, but for righteous Jews as well—baptism was a decisive act of turning from the old way of life and a throwing oneself on the mercy of God (Matthew 3:2, 11; Mark. 1:4; Luke. 3:3, 8; Acts 13:24; 19:4).
When you turn to God, it means that you put all of your eggs in ONE basket—Jesus Christ! There is no keeping one foot in one pool and testing the water, while trying to keep the other foot on the side of the pool. Jesus longs for you to repent and to turn to Him. Second Peter 3:9 offer this hope: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” I don’t know what is happening with you spiritually this week, but I want to encourage you to turn to God. He is waiting for you, His child, to turn to Him in faith and repentance. As the King and Country song, “Burn the Ships,” encourages us: “Say a prayer, turn the tide, dry your tears and say goodbye, we can rise up from the dust and walk away…step into a new day!” When we turn to God, He promises that He will send times of refreshing—and it doesn’t get any better than that!