Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
[B]ut those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Do not conform 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.
In this series, we’re walking through the four simple steps used in Growing on the Frontline, our new group resource, to help us grow in maturity and fruitfulness. Over the last two weeks we’ve looked at reflecting on what’s happening around and within us and receiving wisdom from the Bible. This week, we turn to renewing our perspective.
With a holiday in the Lake District coming up, my friends and I promised ourselves we’d conquer Scafell Pike – the biggest hill in the National Park. But as I considered the prospect of climbing 3,000 feet aged 60-and-a-bit, I realised it’d be wise to get fit first.
So, I started a ‘couch to 5k’. I picked the sprinter Michael Jordan as my in-app coach. And I discovered that getting fit included not only exercise but discipline, diet, and lifestyle choices: a holistic change.
Maybe the way God renews us is similar. It’s holistic, he’s coaches us through the process, and it helps us become more fit for purpose: his purpose.
God renews all of us – spirit (Psalm 51), strength (Isaiah 40), and mind (Romans 12). And that renewal is a partnership, as God leads us into greater purity, steadfastness, endurance, and discernment.
On its own, Psalm 51 might suggest we simply ask, and God does all the work. But Isaiah 40 and Romans 12 point to our contribution to our own renewal. We consciously put our hope in God, going to him for the security and affirmation we need, trusting he’s in control no matter what. And we refuse to be conformed to the world’s expectations, inviting God to shape us instead. Then, we can discern his will more clearly – and live it out where we are.
These are just a couple of examples of what it looks like to cooperate with God in being renewed. Whenever we reflect and notice something’s stopping us from being as fruitful as we’d like, we can turn to God’s word to receive his wisdom – and then entrust him with whatever’s holding us back, asking him to renew us: heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Working on your breathing is part of getting fit, and ‘breath prayers’ can help in the process of being renewed. They can be as simple as two short phrases expressing biblical wisdom, prayed on the ‘in’ and ‘out’ breath. For example, if fear stops us from speaking out when we need to, we can use John 14:27: ‘my peace I give to you’ on the in breath; ‘do not be afraid’ on the out.
Which Bible verses might help you to receive God’s peace, or declare his love for you, or remind you that he’s sovereign and in control? Try using these as breath prayers to connect you with God when something gets in the way of being fruitful.
Co-author of Growing on the Frontline
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