It’s a beautiful time of year here in Northwest Montana as the drabness of March has been replaced by the glorious display of spring flowers, green grass, and trees beginning to leaf out and bloom. We have a large, fenced (to try to keep the deer out) vegetable garden with daffodils, tulips and crown imperial all around the perimeter and they are at their peak with color. We have been receiving lots of gentle rain interspersed with sun breaks and it seems that everything is just awakening and coming alive, saying, “Thank You, LORD!”
Sometimes the winters can be pretty long in Montana and we get impatient waiting for spring–for birds to return, for the flowers to bloom and the trees to leaf out and bloom. Maybe some of you have been experiencing a long winter season in you spiritual life and you are looking forward to spring. Maybe your spiritual life is still cold and wintry due to your love for the Lord and for others growing cold. Maybe bitterness, anger, depression, resentment and maybe deep hurts have put you into a prolonged dormancy. If so, you need a spiritual renewal, a revival in you life–you need to bring back the springtime. But how do you do that? Kurt Kaiser, in his hymn Bring Back the Springtime, expresses his prayerful desire for that renewal:
“When in the spring the flowers are blooming bright and fair–
After the grey of winter’s gone–
Once again the lark begins its tuning–
Back in the meadows of my home.
Lord, to my heart bring back the springtime, take away the cold and dark of sin,
Oh, refill me now sweet Holy Spirit,
May I warm and tender be again.
Lord make me like the stream that flows so cool and clear–
Down from the mountains high above,
I will tell the world the wondrous story–
Of the stream that flows from Calvary.”
So, how do you bring back the springtime into your life? For starters, maybe you, like the Ephesian Church, have “left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Maybe that zeal, enthusiasm and fervor have gone. You need to, as the hymn expresses, ask God to “take away the cold and dark of sin” and to “refill (you with the) Holy Spirit.” Maybe you have allowed unconfessed sin to destroy your fellowship with God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear (respond).” So, a good place to begin is to pray, as David did: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thought; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psa. 139:23,24).
Confess (agree with God concerning) any sins He points out to you and ask the Holy Spirit to once again take control of your life (Eph. 5:18).
Maybe the sin you are harboring is failure to forgive someone who has injured you. You have become an angry and bitter person. Failure to forgive brings our spiritual growth to a screeching halt and we become very critical, angry, moody, and miserable to be around. To bring back the springtime, we need to forgive and let God deal with those who have hurt us (Mt. 6:14,15). Or, maybe you need to ask for forgiveness of someone you have injured with your attitude, actions or words (Mt. 5:23,24).
Maybe you have been neglecting spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. Just as we can’t go without food, rest, and exercise to stay healthy physically, neither can we stay spiritually healthy if we are not feeding on His Word, communicating with Him throughout the day and living out what we read in His Word as His will for our lives, depending on Him as we do so.
Maybe you have had a “bad church experience” and dropped out. It is really hard to maintain a vibrant, fruitful Christian life without the support of, and accountability to a local assembly of believers. If a log rolls out of the fire, it just smolders and goes out. So do we when we separate ourselves from the fellowship of believers. The writer to the Hebrew believers, who had been scattered due to persecution, and really needed encouragement put it this way: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:23-25).
Another possibility for spiritual dormancy or dryness, is a lack of ministry to others. We may be faithful in our church and Bible study attendance. We may be reading Scripture and having our prayer time, but if all we do is absorb and never give out, we get stale, and eventually sour! All some do is “sit and soak and sour.” We need to be actively sharing with others what God is doing in our lives. We are “blessed to be a blessing.” We are to be channels or conduit through whom God is working, encouraging others in their relationship with God. Paul told Timothy, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:2). Pass it on. Don’t hoard it.
God desires that we go and bear fruit (Jn. 15:16). To do that we must “abide in the vine.” Fruit is just the overflow of nourishment as the branches abide in the vine. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit” (Jn. 15:5).
Are you bearing fruit or are you still in a state of spiritual dormancy? Isn’t it time to “bring back the springtime” so you can enjoy your relationship with Christ, and bear fruit for Him? We need to be demonstrating to a lost world of friends and neighbors and family members what a new life in Jesus Christ is like so that they will desire to know Him too.