December seems to the month of renewals in our home. Notices to renew have arrived via email notifications, text messaging, postcards and letter in the mail, and alerts on my monthly calendar. So many renewals: vehicle registration, post office box, health insurance incentive, driver’s license, website domains and security, automobile assistance, magazine memberships, and club commitments.
Is there a month when renewal notices flood your correspondence?
Could it be possible that of all the months of the year, December might be a month of renewal and refreshment?
Instead of a month filled with depletion, scarcity, and exhaustion, December reflects a time of abundance, generosity, life, and hope. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, can change the way we approach this time of year.
Jesus generously left the abundance of heaven to teach humankind the way to live, thus offering hope both in the present and for the future. After ascending to heaven, the gift of the continual presence of the Holy Spirit arrived, offering companionship, counsel, comfort, connection, and renewal by the power of our Triune God.
Renewal means to give life. It also implies the repair of something worn out.
How do you need renewal? Consider each of these areas: Emotionally, relationally, vocationally, physically, intellectually, or spiritually.
While renewing necessary products and services extends their use and function in our daily living, spiritual renewal extends beyond this world to the next.
What does it mean to experience renewal from God?
A primary means of renewal occurs when God transforms our perspective toward our current situation and our understanding of life forever. Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 4:18 what changes. What is seen must be viewed as only temporary. Furthermore, he charges followers of Christ to look beyond the temporary to what is eternal.
What does it mean to look to eternity?
Paul offers us this explanation. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” He looks past the physical trauma, suffering, and pain of this world to the glory beheld in eternity. That eternal glory makes the troubles of today diminish and lose power and control over us. It is hard to imagine a glory that “far outweighs” the hardships of our current realities, yet that is precisely Paul’s big idea. He suffered greatly but lifted his perspective higher to that which exceeded his present reality, thus allowing the renewal of God to penetrate every part of his soul.
Will you let the Spirit of the living God lift your gaze to His eternal glory?
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). This verse resonates with hope and healing as it reminds people walking in the way of Jesus that while our physical bodies and emotions experience hardship, even to the point of seemingly “falling apart,” God’s promises renewal to our souls. The Holy Spirit infuses those He inhabits with strength greater than anything humanly conceived resulting in holy renewal by our Triune God.
Shifting our focus beyond the temporary, especially in the midst of trials, requires dependence and trust in our sovereign God. The Bible reminds us nearly 300 times that the Lord is sovereign. We can rest in God’s attention and detail to all of life. Additionally, Scripture abounds with exhortations to trust in our mighty steadfast God. Even when circumstances prove challenging and confusing, He can be trusted to bring renewal.
How does the strength of God renew us within?
The psalmists and prophets recount the renewal of God in several of their songs. Our faithful God renews the spirit within (Psalm 51:10), renews emotional stature (Psalm 103:5), renews spiritual strength (Isaiah 40:31), renews physical stamina (Isaiah 57:10), renews relational connection (Lamentations 5:21), and ultimately, He renews all things (Matthew 19:28).
Imagine receiving a renewal notice from God. Is it time to be renewed by Him?
In what areas of your life, do you need His abundant, generous life, and hope to refresh and restore your perspective? Just like we need to take action to renew our driver’s license, favorite magazines, website domains, and even health insurance there are ways we can actively notice God’s renewing action in our lives, consequently lifting our gaze from the temporary to the eternal.
- When you have a quiet moment, whether in the car, at the office, home, or at the gym, pray a simple prayer of renewal. Maybe something like: “Renew my mind, O Lord,” “Renewal comes from you, Triune God,” or “Bring your renwal, Holy Spirit.” Embrace God’s eternal care to the needs upon your heart.
- Whether you have five minutes or an hour, when activity slows or stills notice God’s inner renewal . Look for the means God uses to support and fortify your soul. Ponder how God refreshes and restores you through the power of the Holy Spirit for today and for the future.
- Allow the living Lord to strengthen and encourage you when you read Scripture. Read to receive from God. If it is one verse or several, let the Bible richly build you up from within. Welcome the ways God renews your soul and perspective through His active life-giving Word.
- As each day slows, reflect with Jesus upon the renewing presence of the Holy Spirit. Pay attention with God to the difference between the temporal and the eternal. Picture the God of the universe pouring renewal deep within your soul in order to empower you to fully live and serve Him wherever you are in whatever you do.
Thank God for the ways He repairs our weary souls, restores our spirit within, and pours His eternal perspective into today. Follow the example of Jesus Christ and approach this month with abundance, generosity, life and hope. Experience the renewal of God while celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Chris Tiegreen. The One Year Walk with God Devotional: 365 Daily Bible Readings to Transform Your Mind. New York, NY. 2004.
C.S, Lewis. Mere Christianity. Carol Stream, IL.2015.