The winter is over.
March 20th marked the official day of spring. The remains of snow have melted in our backyards. Ice is merely a memory on the highways. The biting nip of frigid temperatures has relaxed into a warm, humid bliss.
We don’t have to wear our jackets anymore. We don’t have to wear a scarf or put on gloves. I have to wash my hair because it’s too hot for a beanie. My pale legs can invite the sun.
I much prefer autumn’s leaves, harsh weather, and the playfulness of snowfall. I love bundling up. I like hiding in my coat. I like the excuse to drink more coffee during the day just to “keep warm.”
But Nature has beckoned, and she says it’s time for a change. It’s time to move on.
Nature’s gentle spring caresses remind me of the tenderness of God when He tells me to move forward.
The winter is over, He says.
I’ve won the war of your heart, He says.
I actually don’t think about all the times you’ve screwed up, because I remember your sin no more.
How much we love the winter of our hearts. How much we like to stay in the dark and the cold. How much we like to stay stuck in the past. We’re tent inhabitants, simply because we like to dwell.
It is one thing to contemplate, but to hide in our darkness is another act altogether. It is one thing to repent, yet it is another thing to brood. It is critical we make the distinction between reflection and self-indulgence. It’s essential we accept ourselves on the same terms with which God has accepted us.
“Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games or pop psychology. It is an act of faith in the God of grace.” –Brennan Manning
Staying stuck in “what once was” is not an act of bravery; it’s an act of fear. Those who obsessively dwell on the past forego the personal responsibility of moving forward … of making the effort … of taking that phone call … of forgiving that friend … of abandoning the person who broke your heart … of ignoring those who told you that you couldn’t … of taking Jesus at His Word … of accepting the new you … of expecting nothing less than greatness for the future.
We fail ourselves when we fail to believe in the God who promises new beginnings.
We fail ourselves when we don’t trust 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We fail ourselves when we see ourselves as Satan sees us—dirty, forgotten, unworthy.
I like to compare these two translations from Isaiah:
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” – Isaiah 43:25, NIV
“But I, yes I, am the one who takes care of your sins—that’s what I do. I don’t keep a list of your sins.” – Isaiah 43:25, MSG
Ironically, the more we trust Jesus' righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), the less focused we are on our outward action, our behavior modifications, and we truly enter into the place of sanctified living.
What if God really means what He says?
What if He actually sees you as capable, as worthy, as beloved?
What if—when He called you a son and not a slave—He meant it (Galatians 4:7)?
What a warming truth that would be.
Today's guest post is by Caroline Case, a production editor at LifeWay Christian Resources for smallgroup.com.