Springtime, and the possibilities are endless

Dogwood

Ah, springtime.

I like to sit at the table on our back deck and listen to the sounds of our neighborhood. I do this all year long — even when it means I have to bundle up in layers against the cold of a Tidewater winter. But in the spring, there’s a special blessing, and I’m not talking about the layer of pollen I tend to bring inside with me when I’m done.

Right now, the birds are twittering and squawking and chirping their various songs. A neighbor has just fired up his lawn mower for the first time this season, reminding me why I appreciate our lawn service so much. Four or five squirrels are chasing each other through the trees and along the tall fence separating our yard from our neighbor’s, chattering loudly at each other the whole time.

Everything is so awake and alive. Even the things that once looked dead in our yard are bursting forth with new life.

There’s a parallel here to the life of a Christ follower.

Scripture tells us that we were dead in our transgressions before Christ. Those who have made Jesus their Lord are given new life, much as the natural world experiences new life with the coming of spring.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:1-5 NIV).

Our sins made us spiritually dead. In following the ways of the world, we were subject to the “ruler of the kingdom of the air,” the devil, who rewards his subjects with spiritual death. He allows his followers to gratify themselves with the things they crave — the desires of the flesh — because he knows those things bring death. He desires nothing more than to snub his nose at the God who cast him out of heaven by subverting the good thing God created when he breathed His own breath of life into man.

But God in His great mercy had a plan to redeem mankind from its sinfulness, to release men and women from the bondage of sin, to give them new life. And this plan rested entirely on the shoulders of His Son, Jesus Christ. There was nothing we could do to earn that release.

What does the dogwood do to bring forth the blooms that appear in April? What do the flowers do to make conditions right for them to burst forth in their glorious springtime color?

Nothing, of course. They must wait for environmental conditions to change before they can bloom and grow.

Similarly, when we believe in Jesus — when we surrender ourselves to His kingship — the environment within us changes. We receive the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit Jesus promised His disciples, and we who were dead in our sins are made alive in Christ.

And then we are truly awake. Things begin to change. New life springs up, and new fruit begins to blossom.

Springtime arrives, and the possibilities are endless.

God bless.

— R.E. Spears III

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