As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a huge benefit. You can be renewed day by day! The older I get the more I appreciate this aspect of our walk with Christ. The truth is a person doesn’t feel like they need renewal if just 20 minutes ago they received a $5,000 bonus at work. But life generally isn’t like that. Most of us face the same situations again and again. Most of us need aspects of our lives to be continually renewed.
That renewal becomes extremely important when hard times come. When we feel betrayed or experience a setback it is easy to want to just give up. A relationship with Jesus doesn’t exempt one from the problems of life.
Paul is a great example of a man who understood the need for spiritual renewal. In 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul tells of a difficult moment. He didn’t go into specifics of what had happened. He told us where it happened…in Asia. Listen to how he describes it. 2 Corinthians 1:8 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
I don’t know what circumstances he was looking at, probably persecution, suffering, threats upon his life. We don’t really know. Instead of describing the actual event, he describes how he felt. I am grateful for that because my outward circumstances and your outward circumstances may never be exactly what Paul’s were. But my emotions probably will line up with his.
This is how he felt:
- Lacking strength
- Despairing of life
- Feeling like a death sentence was upon him.
While we do not know exactly what happened to him, we do know that he came through that test and trial with his faith and his hope in tack. Later in the book he gives the key to that spiritual victory.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
A careful study of scripture will show us exactly how this renewal happens as well as the effect of that renewal. Like Paul we will face many difficult moments, but the good news is God wants us to be renewed day by day. The question becomes…
How can we be renewed day by day?
First of all,
- BY WORSHIPING WE GAIN A RENEWED PERSPECTIVE
Worship renews you. It gives you a new perspective. In life it is easy to get tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is where all you do is look at a problem continually. And you look at it so much, that it begins to take on more significance in your life than it should. You think about it continually. You mind is trying to problem solve. Even your subconscious mind is busy trying to figure out, how do I get over this? How do I get above it? You focus all your energies on the problem. What happens is the problems seems bigger and bigger. The closer you get to it. The bigger it seems.
Worship renews you by getting your eyes off the problems, the tough situations, and focusing them on the one who is greater than all of that. When we worship, we are lifting up our spiritual eyes and seeing that God is greater than ourselves. God is greater than our problems. God is greater than our current situation. That is why Paul exhorted the Colossians in this way. Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Worship sets your mind on things above and when you do that you get renewed. Putting your mind on things above, allows you a new perspective.
Let me give you a bible example. Imagine with me how David and his 600 men felt as they approached the village where they had left their wives and children and the smoke was descending into the sky. Upon arrival they discover that their families had been taken captive by Amalakite raiders. The despair was real. 1 Samuel 30:4 “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.”
You can imagine, everyone was upset. They were thinking, they are now taking advantage of our wives and children. Someone even suggested stoning David. David himself was greatly distressed. He needed renewal. He needed hope. Outward circumstances weighed heavily upon him. He felt weak with no more power to weep.
What was the groups perspective? This is what they were all thinking: This is over, our families are gone. There is nothing we can do. Our wives and children will end up as concubines and slaves. There is nothing we can do.
David understood that the answer lie in his relationship with God. And while others continued to mourn retaining the same perspective. David began to magnify God. His perspective needed renewing. 1 Samuel 30:6 “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” I think that David went away from everyone and began to worship. The reason why I think he worshiped was because as he came back out of that time of strengthening himself, his perspective had changed. The Psalmist of Israel was a worshiper. David had learned to get his eyes up off of the problem and onto God.
I think as David began to adore His God, he began to think about all the times when God had helped him. God had delivered him from the paw of the lion, the paw of the bear, and the hand of Goliath. He may have thought of the history or his people and how God had parted the waters of the Red Sea, and provided manna in the wilderness.
In his mind, a new perspective began to form. He thought, “God you can do it. God you have done it all my life. I am going to trust you again. God delivered me from bear, the lion, Goliath. He can deliver me as well. After enquiring of the Lord, a new David appeared before his men.
This was not the same David who was weak from weeping. His perspective was different.
- His heart was renewed.
- The strength was back
- The vision was back
- The power was back.
- The confidence in his God was back.
The scripture tells us that they went after them, pursuing them, and they got everyone and everything back. What happened? He was renewed from worship. We also can be renewed day by day by making worship a part of our lives.
Paul and Silas did the same thing in prison, beaten, in shackles, yet they praised God and it wasn’t long before the place shook with God’s power and they were renewed.
What you do in church in Sunday morning is not simply a preliminary to the preaching. The worship of God is to give us a new perspective. It renews us. But here is great news, you don’t have to wait until Sunday. You don’t have to be in a worship service to worship. You don’t have to sing a song to worship. You can just start praising. You can just start giving him glory for who he is and what he does. You will find your perspective renewed.
And then we can be renewed by
- BY BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD WE GAIN A RENEWED STRENGTH
Americans are tired most of the week. I did a study on tiredness. One website asked this question: “How many days of the week do you wake up feeling exhausted? If you really feel like a slave to your alarm clock, you aren’t alone. Only one in 7 Americans wake up feeling fresh every day of the week, according to a poll conducted by YouGov. Experts have traditionally recommended eight hours sleep, though seven hours should also be sufficient. 45 percent of Americans sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night reported feeling tired or fatigued up to three times a week. 27 percent of people said they wake up tired on 4 or more days per week. Those only managing six hours sleep or less each night are, quite unsurprisingly, the most tired.
There is a tiredness that comes from lack of sleep. There is a tiredness that comes from getting a little older. But there is another type of weariness. It comes from stress, anxiety, worry and fear. I am talking about a spiritual and emotional tiredness. It will manifest in your physical body. There are a lot of people who go to bed tired and wake up tired. What do they need?
They need to be renewed. It is a renewal only God can give. You can’t get it from vitamin or tranquilizers that make you sleep. God is the ultimate source of energy. You need to get yourself in the presence of God.
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.”
The long-term effect of being in the presence of God is that you gain strength. But it is not instantaneous. It takes some time. When your phone battery needs energizing what do you do? You plug it in. Sometimes to get fully charged it takes some time, maybe several hours. Why do so many people think that God is an instant God? We think we can put God on our timetable. Sometimes it takes some time in the presence of God to receive his strength. You have to be willing to “wait”.
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
I believe that one of the most healthy things you can do is wait in the presence of God. Wat does that mean? Wait on the Lord? It is connecting with God for his timing and guidance. Waiting on the Lord is the opposite of saying I am going to go and do that myself. Waiting on the Lord is depending on God. Waiting on the Lord is subjecting our will to His terms and timing. Waiting always includes time and patience. And being with Him.
Just like your cell phone was designed for periods of functionality, followed by periods of recharging and renewing that battery. You creator designed you. He designed us to physically rest 8 hours in a 24 hour day. He designed us to rest one day per week. He designed us to get into his presence on a daily basis so that we can be spiritually renewed. We don’t have a specific time for that, it may be a few minutes or it may take longer. We need to be steadfast in waiting.
James 1:4 ESV says, “Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This steadfastness is waiting. When I feel weary, sometimes I just need to wait with him for awhile. What does that look like? You don’t have hours and hours. No, but you do have some time each day. Maybe it’s on your way to work or when you get home. Maybe it’s at lunch or early in the morning. But schedule some time to get into his presence.
And then, we are renewed day by day
3. BY ENGAGING THE WORD OF GOD WE GAIN A RENEWED MIND
I believe in the book of books. I believe that this book in its original language is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. It is not just a history book. It is not just a book of moral lessons. It is unlike any other book. The Word of God is described in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful…”
And as we read it and it enters our mind, our mind becomes renewed. Romans 12:2 says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
Your mind has been programmed by the world system. We need to have our mind renewed. We do that when we engage the Word.
Doctors Avi Karni and Leslie Ungerleider of the National Institute of Mental Health did a fascinating study asking subjects to perform a simple motor task—a finger-tapping exercise. As subjects tapped, the doctors conducted an MRI to identify what part of the brain was being activated.
The subjects then practiced the finger-tapping exercise daily for four weeks. At the end of the four-week period, the brain scan was repeated. In each instance, it revealed that the area of the brain involved in the task had expanded. That simple task—finger-tapping exercise—literally recruited new nerve cells and rewired neuronal connections. When we read Scripture, we are recruiting new nerve cells and rewiring neuronal connections.
In a sense, we are downloading a new operating system that reconfigures the mind. Our brains are rewired in alignment with the Word, and we develop the mind of Christ. We think His thoughts.
The final way to be renewed is
- BY RECEIVING THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WE GAIN A RENEWED HOPE
I am grateful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have to become familiar with who the Holy Spirit is. You meet him in the second verse of the bible where it states that “the Spirit hovered over the face of the waters.” That same Spirit of God was powerful enough to go forth and create all that we see. The Spirit of the Living God caused light to become light, created the universe and hung it on nothing. Wow!
What that tells us that the Holy Spirit is big enough to minister to us exactly when and how we need him. Titus tells us that we need renewing by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
He does that by giving us hope. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Life has a way of killing dreams, doesn’t it? You set out with high hopes—for your schooling, your career, your family, and your golden years. You have plans, aspirations, and expectations. But things don’t always turn out the way you expected. Plans fall through. People let you down. You let yourself down. Suddenly the life you’re living isn’t the life you dreamed of at all; or you find yourself in a place you never expected to be.
Fantine, a young woman from Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, sings a powerful song (in the musical version) as she finds herself in a hopeless place. A summer lover has left her alone with a child. She finds work in a factory, but has to place her daughter, Cosette, in the keeping of some cruel and crooked innkeepers. When it is discovered that she has a child out of wedlock, she’s thrown out of the factory and into the streets. She’s forced to sell her hair, then her teeth, then her body, in order to pay for Cosette’s care. She’s falsely accused of a crime, and placed under arrest. And on top of all this, she’s desperately ill. And out of that dark place, she sings, “I dreamed a dream in days gone by … now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”
Hopefully none of us are in quite that desperate of a place, but we all have dreams that haven’t come true. We all find ourselves in places we never expected to be. We know how it feels to be so disappointed, so discouraged, it feels as though all hope is gone. If it’s not true for you right now, it’s probably true for someone you know, and maybe for someone you love. They need to be renewed day by day.
That is why the church world must once again open the prayer rooms, and the altars of churches and allow the Holy Spirit access. He can bring hope where humans cannot. God forbid it that as a pastor I would not allow the Holy Spirit a place where his ministry can touch the lives of people.
I have seen what the Holy Spirit can do. From bringing peace into the life of a widow who was grieving, to renew someone who was bound to guilt into understanding they are a child of God, to restoring hope in a home that was broken by sin and unforgiveness. I know what the Holy Spirit can do. My prayer is simple.
Come Holy Spirit! May we be renewed day by day.