There were so many different ways that I thought about introducing this topic, but growing up as a very visual and imaginative learner, I wanted to be able to describe something tangible for you to imagine as we continue, so I chose plants. I LOVE plants. I love the look of them, the smell of them and everything about plants because our great God made every single one of them so unique and beautiful, but one thing that you most definitely know if you are a plant owner (like myself) or if you were a plant foster parent until you realized that the plant life wasn’t for you – you know that every plant needs specific things to grow. This isn’t rocket science because if it was, I would clearly be unqualified, but this is just common knowledge. What do they need to grow? Well I am glad you asked! Plants need good soil, water and sun, and without these things, your plant could dry up, wither and die. Morbid right?
When I looked up the word “renew”, the definition that I believe encompasses what I am talking about today is renew as an adjective, meaning to “give fresh life or strength to”. We see a perfect example of this definition in Isaiah 40:30-31 which says
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary”
I love replacing the word renew with the definition in the verse so that it says, “the LORD shall give fresh life to their strength.” That sound so wonderful, right? To be given fresh life by the LORD is what happens when we give Him our hearts and our time. You cannot expect something to grow that you don’t water – just like you cannot grow and be renewed in Christ if you are not seeking Him through His word and prayer.
I have this plant that sits on the windowsill in my office at work. This plant was given to my family in September of 2011 when my younger brother Isaac passed away. After I started my job in 2017, I was given this plant to take care of and there was a big rod right down the middle and a combination of dead and living leaves all mangled together. I had been watering it about once a week and was seeing some new sprouts at the bottom so I decided to cut off most of the leaves and pray that those little sprouts would make a full plant again. After my schedule became more and more hectic, I would forget to water the plant at work and leaves would fall off and there was not much left of the plant. I realized I had been neglecting it because I let other things–maybe what I thought were more important things–get in the way. In the summer when my schedule calmed down a bit, I was very disciplined to water it at least 3 times a week and noticed significant growth which was the very goal I was trying to accomplish. So now we have to ask ourselves if our intention is to grow, are we consistently in God’s word?
I am so guilty of expecting to grow and be more fruitful without diligently being in God’s word, but this is so crucial. Our time with God whether in the morning, afternoon or evening is the water that is always available to us, but sometimes it has been a while and my “soil” is REAL dry and it is going to take a lot of soaking up to actually water me so that I can grow. God renews us constantly! I have never had a day when I picked up my bible despite how discouraged, broken or even what I think of as my standard of good, and left feeling unchanged. Why? Because when we sit down even with what little time we think we have, just the act of doing that is the fruit that God has and continues to transform us “by the renewalof our minds” Romans 12:2.
This is mentioned again in 2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day”. God’s word is so clear on the importance of renewal because we are not who we were 10 years ago, we are not who we were a week ago and we aren’t even who we were yesterday! We are made completely new in Christ, and if we are seeking Him and His heart, we understand that this spurs us to love greater and live according to His calling on our lives.
We are limited people serving an unlimited God, and because of that, we are encouraged to be refreshed and renewed by God because we cannot renew ourselves. I would encourage you just as I have to encourage myself to be diligent in soaking up God’s word!
Sarah Boeckman is an administrative assistant and digital artist for an engineering firm in Georgia. She is passionate about leading worship, orphan advocacy, and ministering to the hearts of teenage girls and loves iced coffee, cacti, and vinyl records. If you would like to keep up with her you can follow her instagram @sarah_boeckman or on Facebook as Sarah Boeckman.