What is renewal and is it optional to the Christian life?
No! It’s not optional. It’s the life of Christ at work in our life. It’s baptism in action; daily dying to our shadowy old nature and rising up to new life in Christ, each day. God for us and in us. God loving us entirely, saint and sinner, successes and failures.
Consider and share whether you think renewal of your being is too hard or not for you. If that’s the case, why do you feel that way?
Consider and share whether you are trying to renew yourself.
Consider whether you feel unworthy of such a generous outpouring of God’s love into you. Are those feelings God’s truth or have you believed the devil’s lies and now feel useless, worthless or unworthy of God’s abundant grace for you, his child? Share your responses.
Task No.1: Say ‘yes’ to renewal.
It’s our Heavenly Father’s desire for you.
Prayer is a conversation, a union with another. With Jesus then, quietly and slowly converse with our Father about Romans 8. Then, after proper consideration, let him answer the question in verse 31. Hear what our Father’s quiet encouraging voice says to you, dear one. Ignore the other voices, they are liars.
Read Romans 12:2.
What are the key points here about renewal?
Transformation is ‘metamorphosis’ in the Greek. This is no mere makeover that Christ is doing in us, rather he is creating something brand new –from dead hearts and souls to fully alive in Christ; from empty to filled; faithless, hopeless and loveless to relationships grounded in audacious faith, limitless hope and abundant love.
‘Be transformed’ is a command for all of us! It is a command to the devil, the sinful world and our old dead flesh to get out of his way, so that our new self can arise, today. Stand aside! Jesus is coming through in the power of the Spirit!
Read Luke 4:14 –consider what is contained in the verse and share your reflections.
Task No.2: With Jesus, converse with our Father about John 12:32.
It is interesting to note that the expression ‘all people’, which appears in this text in many English translations, doesn’t appear in the New Testament Greek. Jesus is ‘dragging all things to himself at the cross’; reclaiming territory lost to the devil at Eden. He put a stake in the ground and planted himself on it, so that we and all creation could be renewed in the power of his Holy Spirit.
Consider and share: How do you think you may be getting in the way of your inner healing and renewal?
Consider and share: Do you want to be truly free from your personal darkness? If so, then get your old, dead self out of Jesus’ way and keep questioning and conversing with our Father.
Remember daily rising is done one day at a time. Persistence is the key.
So say ‘yes’ to renewal and get out of the Spirit’s way, allowing him to work complete transformation in you.
As well as being a parish pastor, David Schuppan is chair of the Queensland Department for Mission and Ministry. He also writes about faith in life, with renewal as a natural part of that, in his blog https://soakintheriver.wordpress.com/
This feature story comes from The Lutheran April 2019. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.
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