When lamentations do not lead to change they may be without profit, though they may be unavoidable “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” (I.Sam.3:13).
It is vain to mourn the past if our grief does not help us to make the future better.
Sorrow for sin is good only when it leads to an active repentance.
It is therefore necessary that a true consideration of the miserable condition into which evil living has brought us should rouse an earnest desire. The jailer in the book of Acts was ready for a new and better way of life “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Ac.16:30″).
Renewal must be the work of the Lord.
We cannot accomplish renewal in our own strength “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zeck.4:6).
We must not just simply resolve to do better, nor hope that a happier state of affairs will come about of its own accord. We must pray and ask God to help us “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jh.1:13).
The object of or prayer is to ask God to produce the great change which is so much needed in our life. “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” (Jh.4:29,39) (3).
We are unable to change our heart, our hearts are too corrupt and too hard “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer.13:23).
We cannot bring back the old days. The pass is for ever gone.
If the passed is to be equaled or surpassed by the future, a Divine providence alone can accomplish the great work “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:” (Ac.9:15).
God does bring back renewal. He renews the face of the earth. He may sends springs time into our lives. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Ac.3:19).
No soul is so corrupt that God cannot renew it, no life is so desolate that God cannot brighten it. Note what (Lk.5:8) stated “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
People try vainly to turn themselves.
God is strong as well as gracious and he will help us.
If only he turns us we shall be surely turned “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” (Ps.80:3).
Renewal must be in our experience.
The mistake is suppose that God must change to us “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Ja.1:17).
There is no need for him to turn. He is always good and always willing to be favorable to his children as soon as they submit and obey “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isa.1:9,20).
The necessary change lies all on our side “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezek.36:26,27).
God abides the same, and that as our distress is in turning from him, so our redemption must be in returning to God “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”(Mt.23:37).
Renewal must begin with our life. The prophet wisely prays to be turned back to God before he prays for the renewal of the old days “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt.6:33)
It is a common mistake to seek for the external fruits of forgiveness before the internal “And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Ac.8:18,19).
The first thing is to bring the soul back to God. Happiness and blessed consequences will follow.
It is to be noted that the great change in the soul is a turning to God. It is God that draws us to him, not us.
Redemption is reconciliation to God “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (II.Cor.5:18,19)
To be near him, to trust and love him and obey him, to seek more and more of his light and life, this is the renewed health and blessedness of the soul that is restored from the wretchedness and ruin of sin. He answered and said “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” (Jh.9:25).
Renewal will affect our whole experience.
After the inter life is renewed the exterior also undergoes a happy and willing transformation “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II.Cor.7:1).
The Jew yearned for the old happy days of peace and prosperity.
The Lord can bring back the old happy days of our life.
Many would give worlds to bring back that peaceful time before all his sins and shame “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Heb.12:17,18)