It is 2014, and time for a change. Some of us are still stuck in that 2013 “spiritual rut.” Let’s be honest… Some of us have been stuck in that rut since 2012, 2011, or even longer, haven’t we? You know what I’m talking about, right? You know that God has more for you than you are experiencing. You know that the life you’re looking for… The life Jesus bought for you… Is much much deeper and richer than what you’re living today. You know you want it, you know you’ve been trying to find it, but it continues to elude you for some reason. You hear stories of others who feel like God is speaking to them, who experience His presence and power, but if you were really honest, you would confess that you find your relationship with God to be a little empty. It isn’t even vibrant enough to get you to church with other believers on a weekly basis, let alone powerful enough to trust in when things are really tough.
I think part of the problem for many of us, is that when it comes to the ongoing walk of the believer, we only live PART OF THE WALK. We don’t experience his fullness, because we have only a partial understanding of how it works in our lives. Scripture tells us clearly that there are TWO MAJOR COMPONENTS that work together to change and grow us.
Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God- truly righteous and holy.
Component One: The Holy Spirit. HE renews
I can’t renew myself. Scripture says that without the work of the Holy Spirit in me, I am dead. Not sick, not hurting. Dead. I can do nothing for myself. He does the ongoing work of renewing me as a believer. This isn’t an optional part of my relationship with God… This is PART of my salvation. It is INCLUDED in the price paid by Jesus on the cross. It is the reason that the Holy Spirit was sent to me. He constantly renews me, sanctifying me… Making me more and more like Him. Is that a description of your life today? Or is your walk the same today as it was last year, and the year before? Some people think that the Holy Spirit is the ONLY component of my ongoing renewal, so they take their hands off it… They just hope that He will do whatever He will do. But that isn’t what this Ephesians 4:23-24 says, is it… It points us to the second component.
Component Two: The Surrendered Believer He renews as WE obey
The second component of my ongoing renewal is ME. That’s right. Ephesians 4 says “Let the SPIRIT renew…” but then it immediately tells ME to “Put on my new nature…” In other words, HE renews when I partner with him to work that renewal. When I live as he calls me to live, when I surrender myself, when I “put on” my new nature, he renews my life. Don’t believe that? Read all of Ephesians 4, 5, and 6. The whole second half of the book is devoted to how that renewal works out through my obedience. Essentially, my sanctification (renewal) is done by the Holy Spirit as I surrender myself in obedience to His work. It works only as a clear partnership of the two components.
Now, please make no mistake… I am in no way whatsoever advocating any sort of works-based justification before God. It is solely the sacrifice of Christ that covers my sin and makes me right with God. So many of us have experienced this justification before God, but so many of us miss out on the equally paid-for sanctification that makes our journey with God worth travelling. It is this ongoing work of making me new that is done by the Holy Spirit in partnership with the surrendered believer.
So how does that work? How can we be eagerly involved in this process of partnering with the Holy Spirit in his work of renewing us? That is exactly what we’ll be talking about over the next few weeks in our “NEW” series on Sunday mornings at 10:30. We’ll look at several really practical ways to partner with God in His work in our lives. I hope you’ll be there, and that you’ll bring a friend with you.
More details are here on our church website.