A New Beginning
Winter is not my favorite time of the year. Every year I begin dreading the coming winter right around the time when the days start turning shorter. As summer begins, my thoughts turn to the impending doom of icy roads, frozen cattle waters and dead batteries. Once the cicadas start singing their late summer song, I'm imagining the cold north winds and drifting snow. Fall is a beautiful time of the year, but it means that the unfinished project list will be deferred for yet another year as I prepare for the bitter months ahead. As I make the last-minute preparations, the chill in the air reminds me of the urgency of the tasks.
Winter arrives, sometimes sooner than planned, with short and often gray days. I lament how much snow there is and wonder when it will ever melt. However, just as the cold weather begins to set in, I become optimistic. The days are beginning to get longer! Summer is just around the corner! Never mind that the temperatures are below zero and we've just begun to experience the harshness of winter, longer days mean that summer is on the way! My mind begins to look forward to planting the garden, mowing the lawn, and being outside. Cold weather may be around for a few more months, but I know it is only temporary. A new beginning is coming. Spring marks a new beginning. The tulips, crocuses and daffodils pop through, sometimes even through the snow. Lawns turn green again. Calves are born, the fields are tilled up and planted. Signs of new life are all around. Spring is a time of optimism. We plant a garden with hopes that we will be able to keep the weeds at bay finally. The yard gets cleaned up. We start the projects that we spent all winter planning. New chicks arrive, with the hopes of better egg production. Warmer weather allows us to be outside more. I love the springtime! In Christ, springtime comes when we obey the gospel. When we submit to God's will and become a Christian, we have a new beginning! The winter of sin and rebellion are replaced with the springtime of optimism and newness. 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." We are no longer servants of sin, we are servants of the Master. Regardless of where we came from, what we did in the past, we have a new beginning in Christ. Consider the apostle Paul: We first see him in Acts 7, holding the coats of the men that were stoning Stephen. By holding their coats, he was effectively encouraging the men to persecute Stephen for his belief in Jesus. Paul took the persecution even further. In Acts 9 we notice him traveling to Damascus for the express purpose of seizing Christians and bringing them to Jerusalem to be tried and executed. On the way to Damascus, he meets Jesus. Paul is struck blind and must be led by the hand to Damascus where a disciple named Ananias lives. Ananias will instruct Paul what he must do to be saved. Upon arriving in Damascus, Ananias told him, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."(Acts 22:16). Immediately Paul was baptized. Without delay, Paul began preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a new creature. He had a new beginning. It didn't matter that he had persecuted the church in times past; he was now a Christian!
Maybe you think you've lived a life that is too evil. Maybe you think you can never receive forgiveness of your sins. Paul did. Many evil people have. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Paul affirms that some of the people he was writing to were vile sinners, but they were washed, sanctified, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. If you are living in the cold winter days of spring, you can have the same new beginning through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Christ, spring is always just around the corner!