Autumn is here, another changing of the seasons
This time of year is perhaps my favorite. People are back from the summer activities, we settle in to a routine, school is in full swing, and the weather begins to cool. The transition of one season to another reminds us that God has ordered the creation to change.
The animals know it’s time for change
In Jeremiah 8:7, the LORD says, “Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons; and the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration.” Animals, and especially birds, know when the season changes too. They know they must react by changing as well. Squirrels scurry to store supplies. Bears bear the brunt of the cold by eating more and storing fat. Fowl flock to find food for the winter. Animals see the signs, and they change.
People often refuse to change
People are more stubborn than animals. We see signs that we need to change, but refuse to. In the same verse (Jer. 8:7), the LORD then says, “But My people do not know the ordinance of the LORD.” In other words, the birds know how to migrate, but His people don’t know to change when they need to. The animals get it, but we miss it. What is this change that the LORD is referring to?
Repentance is the change God seeks
The LORD is referring to a spiritual change. God does not seek for us to turn over a new leaf. He does not want us to resolve to have a new lease on life. He calls for repentance—a change in direction. In the previous verse (Jer. 8:6), the LORD says,
I have listened and heard, they have spoken what is not right;
No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’
Everyone turned to his course, like a horse charging into battle.
Repentance is not something that believers do once; it is continual. One who is trusting in Christ will be continually repenting because God will be revealing more and more of his or her sinful actions and attitudes. When these are revealed a believer will humbly repent and change, much like a flock of geese migrate when the temperature begins to drop.
As autumn comes upon us and the cool wind begins to blow, let this be a time we respond to the gentle blowing of the Holy Spirit by changing—repenting—so that we may find sustenance and life in Christ.
Because of our time away this week, I’ve been thinking about the subject of renewal. As I think about the subject of being refreshed and renewed, I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:16, which says,
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
The outer man
As we age, we begin to realize more fully the truth of this phrase, “our outer man is decaying.” We feel aches and pains and have frustrations as our bodies begin to be unable to do things we used to do regularly. Our mind is still sharp, but we can’t make our flesh do what we want it to do. Our outer man is decaying. It’s breaking down. It’s fading away. This is tough to accept, but it’s reality.
The inner man
On the other hand, our inner man, our spirit, is being renewed day by day. Our spiritual self does not fade away. We do not break down. We do not die. Instead, our spiritual self is ever increasing in strength and its renewal is daily. As God sanctifies us in Christ, He is growing us, and that growth is ever increasing, never fading. People may see us breaking down externally, but internally we are growing fresher and firmer and stronger every day.
The result is simple: because we know we are being renewed day by day, we do not lose heart. We can take courage—things are getting better, not worse. Sure it may not look like things are better at times, but since when is anything of the Christian faith based on sight? In fact, that’s why Paul says what he says just a couple of verses later in verse 18.
We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We can take heart because we are being renewed in our inner man every single day in Christ, and that’s refreshing to know.