Terry R. Baughman
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).
Renewal is spiritual, mental, and practical. While we often focus on the spiritual element in the context of renewal or revival, a more holistic view should be embraced. Renewal is all encompassing and affects all of our lives. We can experience renewal in our minds as our outlook and attitudes are transformed. This spiritual makeover is demonstrated in practical ways as the change becomes evident in everyday behaviors and relationships.
The New Birth and our life in Christ is much more than an occasional feeling of emotional happiness; more than a unique supernatural epiphany that occurred at one time in our past. It is dynamic and living. After all, Jesus proclaimed, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Spirit-life was never intended to become stale and meaningless, but rather vibrant and alive. If that is missing it is time for a renewal of restoration.
At times we may drift from our spiritual passion allowing carnal influences to distract us from our purpose. Ask the Holy Spirit to spark a craving for renewal, the desire for restoration. David’s prayer in Psalm 51 was a prayer of repentance, but also a recognition that he needed the Lord to bring about that renewal in his spirit. He prayed, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:11–12).
The renewal of restoration is a renewal of joy and a sense of purpose in our existence. David prayed, “Renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). That phrase from the NKJV and NIV is also translated, “loyal spirit,” in the NLT while the KJV and ESV rendered it, “a right spirit.” While there is a range of meanings suggested by these translations the steadfast spirit suggests a settled, calm assurance in one’s relationship with God. There is nothing like the confidence to say, “It is well with my soul.”
From many stories in Scripture we understand that life is not always steady. Job is not the only one who suffered upheaval and distress. There are ups and downs, times of ecstasy and times of intensity, seasons of calm and series of storms. Paul understood that fluctuation of life’s ebb and flow as he experienced, “Both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12), yet he wrote “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). It is a daily process. God is with us. His grace continual is at work in our lives. “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18 The Message).
During a time of spiritual renewal make room for restoration. Allow the soul to be settled and the spirit to be renewed to the joy of your first love experience.
“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 NIV).