Would you like to be renewed or made new? I suspect all of us would answer yes, maybe with a couple of provisos. King David when praying to God after his sin and pain with Bathsheba says, “Create in me a pure heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). He wants a life among the living again. This is a common feeling among those who have been grieving the loss of a loved one. Later in Psalms 103:1,3,5 he says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, praise His holy name, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…who satisfies the desires of your heart with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Here he is saying that we have a God who actually does these things in our lives if we trust Him. As if to confirm this promise, Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 40:31 says, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles, they will run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not be faint.” This is a verse that many people have printed on their Bible covers or framed in their homes. It usually is accompanied by the image of a soaring eagle.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16 addresses how we are falling apart physically and going through trials and hardships, but “inwardly we are being renewed every day.” This passage is for believers who put their trust in God, an exhortation he gives to the Romans in 12:2 saying, “Do not conform any longer 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.” This is the process of sanctification or being made holy and righteous through the Holy Spirit. But we must submit and be obedient to God’s Word and direction in our lives. If we are doing it or think we can, we can’t. This is not about pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps; it is a spiritual formation or growth process. Paul has told us to be “living sacrifices” as a spiritual act of worship. We were made to worship. This is not a church thing. It is a lifestyle wholly given to God.
This process starts when we are “made new.” In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul describes this saying, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Throughout the New Testament we read of becoming new, having a new song in our heart. This is about the “new covenant” brought by Jesus into the world with His incarnation. He came to reconcile the world, one person at a time, to Himself and God. As we receive His gift of salvation we become new and the old is gone. We have “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10). He goes on to say: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14). Lest you say that this is too much, be at peace. This is talking of the process of becoming righteous through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must submit and obey. We must stay under the trial of assignment God has given us until He says we are finished. Then in growing quantity and quality we take on these godly attributes. This is our act of worship or living. So be renewed!