The problem of sin has brought the consequences of the curse – one of which is that the ‘new’ never lasts (or costs too much to keep new). New houses lose their magic after a mortgage payment or two. The new car smell generally wears off after about two weeks. Honeymoons don’t last forever. Even in the spiritual realm, the newness of conversion and church wears off all-too-soon! The only exception is what God does in the lives of His children. 2 Corinthians 5 speaks about how God seeks to renew us, if we will allow Him. During my sabbatical, I made this a serious matter of prayer…
Lord, Renew My View of this World (v1-8)
The old view of life: get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can! The old view of life is one where stability and success is measured by wealth, possessions, and things. But God has called us to walk by faith and not by sight. We need shift our focus and trust God. Our new perspective will seek heavenly treasures. Lord, please renew the way I see life, death, and everything in between. Help me to see things like you see them.
Lord, Renew My Desires & Motivations (v9-15)
The old motives will only take you so far. There are several wrong ways to keep yourself going… Works: I’m doing good to earn something important. Fear: I’m afraid not to do what’s right. Pride: I want to do right for right’s sake (and for mine too). Duty: I’m supposed to do what’s right, so that’s what I’ll do. Insecurity: If I don’t do what’s right, people won’t accept me. But the new motive is simple: LOVE. His love moves me to love like He loved. His sacrifice, His grace, His forgiveness. Christ didn’t endure the cross because He needed the salvation, He did it for our salvation and to glorify the Father. Lord, please renew my ‘want-to’ when I lose my healthy ambition and motivation.
Lord, Renew My Attitude toward Others (v16-17)
The old way to approach relationships is usually selfish in nature. Skeptical, doubtful, judgmental, critical, and fearful. As a Christian, my new mindset gives others (especially Christians) the benefit of the doubt. I must understand that Christians deserve a clean slate – worthy of love and of trust. Lord, please remove my prejudices and renew my appreciation for your image-bearers.
Lord, Renew My Perception of Self (v17-21)
The old perspective is usually out of balance in one of two ways: either I saw myself as a worthless human being or I felt too highly of myself. Both views are too extreme to be new because they either lead to ‘self-esteem’ issues (self-pity or pride). My old perception begins with ‘who I am without God,’ but my new perception of myself begins in God. I am what God says I am and I have what God says I have. I am forgiven. I am an ambassador. I have been reconciled to God and have been called to reconcile others to God. Lord, please renew my understanding of who I am in you.
A salesman once had a difficult time selling an old, rundown warehouse. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, the agent took pains to talk about all he planned to do in renovating the broken windows and cleaning up the garbage. ”Forget about the repairs, said the buyer, “I’m not interested in the building. I just want the site.” … God isn’t interested in the repairs that we can make to ourselves, He wants to totally renew (restore / rebuild) us from the inside out! Give up the rights to your site and see what God will build on it.