God is a God who loves to renew things. Like what? Here are three.
1. God renews exhausted strength.
You find yourself tired most of the time? Busier than is healthy? Under pressure and overextended? Guilty because of all the obligations you still haven’t gotten around to?
And what’s even worse is that the way you’re trying to beat the tiredness—the social media scrolling and Netflix episodes—are just making you more tired?
What do you do when your tasks are unending and your strength is just gone? Well, sometimes you just really need to hit pause on the never-ending rush of activity and take a moment to enjoy something that’s good and true and beautiful.
Are you curious how to renew your strength? Here’s a message from God that tired people need to hear.
“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.” (Is. 40:28-31, NIV)
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”
God likes to renew things. One thing he wants to renew is your exhausted strength. How? By inviting you to hope in him. As our Creator, he is the source of inexhaustible strength. It is he who gives strength to the weary.
So in your tired moments, remind yourself to hope in him. It is he who will renew your strength.
Renew us, O Lord.
2. God renews inner selves.
What can you learn from a fallen seed, dead and buried in the dirt? Or from a plain, dull-looking sack called a cocoon? What can you learn from a drab pair of shells called an oyster?
Here’s what you can learn, and it’s great news: You learn that, even though the outside might look plain, dull, even dead, if you could look inside, you’d see something fascinating that would delight your soul.
Because inside that dirt-covered seed, new life is beginning to sprout.
Inside the cocoon is a transformation that makes no sense as a common caterpillar shifts its organs around and sprouts wings to become the most beautiful bug you’ve ever seen.
“Inside that dirt-covered seed, new life is beginning to sprout.”
Inside the drab oyster is a pearl forming which will dazzle and beautify.
Followers of Jesus experience their own inner-outer mismatch. An apostle named Paul wasn’t getting any younger when he wrote,
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16b, NIV)
And Paul wasn’t just talking about the process of getting older. He was actually talking about followers of Jesus getting pummeled by a hostile Roman world. He referred to the troubles that followers of Jesus can face for following Jesus.
Now, from the outside, a church getting beat up by the culture around it did not look impressive. The church that takes it on the chin for following Jesus when it’s unpopular can look a little roughed up. But look on the inside. Through the suffering, God was doing something inside that church and inside those followers of Jesus which Paul calls “renewal.”
“God was doing something inside that church which Paul calls ‘renewal.'”
Again, he writes, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16b). Outwardly, we may look like the fallen seed or the cocoon or the outer shells, but all the while, God’s doing something amazing on the inside.
During hard times, followers of Jesus might look beat up by life and pummeled by the world around it. But look inside. God is using troubles and tough times to renew us.
And since we have chosen to trust and follow Jesus, we say,
Renew us, O Lord.
3. God renews lost sinners.
Do you remember the feeling of being “too young” to do something? There was that movie you were too young to watch, but your older sibling could. There was that roller coaster you couldn’t ride until you were older. “Too young” is not a fun feeling.
But a way worse feeling is being “too old.” You’d like to get into a new career, but you’re afraid you’re too old. You’d like to be great at sports again, but…too old. You’d like to feel cool again, but…too old. “Too young” at least means it’s coming someday. “Too old” means your day has come and gone.
“Too old” can be a terrible place to be when it comes to sinful habits that have been a part of us for too long. Sometimes people get to a place where they would like to be more patient with other people, but they’ve spent so many years getting angry and impatient, that they feel too old to change. Or there have been too many years of built-up unforgiveness, and they feel too old to change. Or they would like to say no to a particular addiction, but they’ve been doing it so long that they feel too old to change.
But God likes to renew things. Like what? Well, like you. In fact, that’s what baptism is all about. It’s a burial of the old and a resurrection of the new. It’s a picture of the old self dying and a brand new you rising to a new life.
“God likes to renew things. Like what? Well, like you.”
Titus 3:5b says, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 6:4 says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
You think you’re too old to change? You may feel that your character and habits are set in concrete. But you’re never too old that God can’t break through and make you brand new. Renewing people is what he does.
So…Renew us, O Lord.