Each year, folks make “New Year’s Resolutions” where they resolve to do better. It is normal and good to want to do better. Resolutions generally revolve around health and wealth: eating better, exercising more, and saving more money. All of these are noble resolutions. At the heart of each one is a desire for renewal.
Renewal was defined in 1828 by Noah Webster as “to renovate; to restore to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or deprivation; to rebuild; to repair; to revive; to make new; to make fresh or vigorous.” The Concise Oxford English Dictionary adds “give fresh life or strength to.” All New Year’s Resolutions seek renewal. This is a very important word in the Bible as well.
There are FIVE things God desires to renew within us.
First, renew a right spirit. Psalm 51:10 says “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” This is David’s great prayer of repentance after committing adultery. At one point, David knew right from wrong and did not waver in doing the right thing, even when nobody was looking. He is asking God to renew that spirit within him. David was asking God to renew his spirit, to make it steadfast before God and men. How is your moral purity? Do you need to ask God for forgiveness? Stop reading and do so right now. Don’t wait another day to get right with God. Let Him renew a right spirit in you.
Second, renew our strength. Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 41:1 adds “Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment.” A person’s strength enables them to be firm when times get tough. When the world seems to be turning upside down, whether financial, emotional, relational, or spiritual, your strength alone will fail. Where are you weak? Where has your strength been diminished? Where are you placing your hope? Hope in the Lord, let Him renew your strength. Rely on the author and perfector of your faith to sustain you.
Next, renew the spirit of our mind. Ephesians 4:23 says “to be made new in the attitude of your minds” and Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I will address this more in my next blog, but renewal in life starts with renewing your mind. What do you spend your day thinking about? What are you reading? What are you watching on TV? What are you allowing into your mind? There is an old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This definitely applies to what you allow into your mind. Like I said, more about this next time.
Fourth, renew in knowledge after the image of Christ. Colossians 3:10 says “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Just before this, Paul writes about our earthly nature versus our identity in Christ. He says “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:5-9). A vibrant follower of Christ receives his identity from Christ, not the world. Let this reality be renewed in your life.
Finally, renew our inner man. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” The physical body you are in is decaying and will one day die. Your inner self is being renewed by God, if you let Him. Every day, when you wake up, ask God to renew your inner man throughout the day. Start each day in His Word. Let the Bible encourage your soul throughout the day. Read good books. I’m working through “Act Like Men” by James MacDonald with a group of men via Facebook. It is an excellent challenge to men to start acting like men! There are other great devotionals that will help you get closer to God and renew your inner man.
These are just five ways God desires to renew us. You don’t want to go through this process alone. Find a good group of people to share life with. May I suggest a local church?!?
Until next time, God bless!
This blog contains material from Motivating with Scripture by John Regier. Used with permission. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.