I was born and brought up in one of the less fashionable areas of Kirkcaldy and some of my earliest memories are of watching many of the old tenements around our house being torn down. As a consequence of all this demolition the outlook from my upstairs bedroom window was, at times, far from picturesque... in fact, rather the opposite!
In addition to all the piles of rubble, old doors, window frames and other dilapidated fittings - much of which would now be prized and sold as 'architectural salvage'- littered the area around my house. Truly a scene of ugly decay, dereliction and devastation. And yet, one winter's morning I woke to discover that overnight it had snowed heavily and as a result everything, yes literally EVERYTHING, was now blanketed in a wonderful covering of pure white snow, glistening in the early morning sunrise. A scene of unmitigated ugliness had been transformed to one of sheer beauty.
And of course the scene I've described puts me in mind of how, if we've become a true Christian, the Lord has dealt with our rebellion towards Him. No longer does He see our lives marred by sin and no longer do we face His judgement and condemnation. But to receive His forgiveness is simple, yet not easy.
Firstly, and this can often be the really hard part, we must take a clear and honest look at our lives, without allowing pride and self-sufficiency to get in the way. We must be ready to recognise and admit to ourselves all the many and various forms of wrong-doing which characterise much of our daily living. By nature each one of us is a rebel towards God, saying in effect, 'I want to live my life MY WAY... not your way!'
But with God's help it's essential that we accept His command to repent. Now this is a term that has lost much of its true meaning these days. It's not just a question of regret or even remorse. God commands us to turn away from all we know to be wrong... as well as offering us a completely new start in life...
'If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone,
the new has come!'
2 Corinthians 5:17
Of course, not one of us could live up to the standards He sets in our own strength. But thankfully we can rely upon Him for the motivation and power to live a new lifestyle.
But we need to sincerely and wholeheartedly give up on ourselves and ask the risen Christ Jesus, who gave His life on the Cross of Calvary for us, to come into our lives in the form of the Holy Spirit... effectively surrendering the future direction of our daily living to Him.
And now, in becoming a true follower of Jesus, it's wonderful to know that when God the Father looks at us He sees us clothed in the righteousness of His Son. And just as the snow covered all the dirt, decay and dereliction surrounding my old house, so we can know that all our unbelief, rejection and selfishness has been dealt with in a similar way...
'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.'
But, if you're not yet a true Believer, and if this winter you look out of our window to see the surrounding area covered in snow, do please remember how the Lord can deal with your greatest need... to be 'put right' with Him... while there's still time.