Digital Photo © Luvdalot Graphics & Design

One Word Answer

by James MacDonald

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19–20a, ESV)

Do you long for the kind of intensity and excitement you once felt for Christ—maybe when you were a young believer, or during your college days, or during a new season of ministry?

There’s a word for that. And it’s the one-word message that God’s prophets and preachers have been consistently proclaiming for as long as people have wanted to see something more than the same dryness, deadness, disappointment, and drudgery in their lives.

Here’s the one word: Repent.

Everything good between you and God exists on the other side of genuine, heartfelt repentance. The spiritual revival you seek—being back on the path with Him, having the right goal in view, experiencing and enjoying His presence the way you once did (even greater than you once did)—all flows through the funnel of repentance. This is absolutely the most critical thing that needs to happen in your life if you expect to be fired up about the Lord again.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea—name any Old Testament prophet you can think of—and repentance is what they kept talking about. Pick any town, any audience, any era of biblical history, and you could count on every one of these guys to be preaching the others’ message. That’s because they each understood how eagerly God desires to release refreshment into people’s lives, even the lives of those who’ve spent years wandering away from Him. And they understood that He does it through repentance. He causes a full wave of mercy, grace, and blessing to swell and break upon the shore of our repentance.

When Peter got up to preach to the crowd who’d witnessed the amazing events of Pentecost—the coming of the Holy Spirit—he, too, anchored his message on repentance: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Then when his next opportunity came to preach, did he vary his approach? Preach a different message? No—“Repent,” he said again, returning to the same sermon topic, “that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

It’s still true today. If you’re not progressing spiritually like you wanted, if you’re not further along than you expected to be by now, if you’re tired of living off the memories of long-ago experiences, with nothing new to build on top of them, there’s only one thing to do. As Jesus Himself said, in some of His final words to the church. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

The heavens themselves are filled with the clouds of God’s mercy that are bursting to shower upon your life if you would do this single thing. This one-word thing: Repent. Then open your arms wide to feel the new, fresh winds of God’s Spirit blowing across the desert of your heart.

© James MacDonald


© 2006 Luvdalot Graphics & Design