Personal renewal keeps us on track to run the race well with much fruit. To live in a place of personal renewal we first need to look at the issues of the heart which block renewal. We need to get rid of the things in the way of relationship and allow the Father’s love to transform our lives. When we let the Father’s love change us, we begin to know who we are in him, just by taking time to be with the one who created us.
1. Look at Issues which Block Renewal
Personal renewal starts with “cleaning house” when it comes to sin. Sin separates us from God and others. David says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). When we confess and repent, God promises forgiveness and cleansing which restores relationship: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Forgiveness is the key to escaping the emotional prison of the heart. Just as we received the gift of forgiveness when we repented, we now need to give the gift of forgiveness to those who have sinned against us. Unforgiveness is disobedience. Although traumatic things have happened to people, forgiveness is not an option. Unforgiveness binds us to the person and situation; all the hurt, anger, and bitterness will be felt every time we are reminded of the situation. It is like giving a key of our house to the enemy. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is oneself, but this is a vital part to walking in freedom.
The human heart so easily wants to take the position of judging people; however, if we judge, then we move from a higher place (called grace) into the low place where we give the enemy an open door into our lives. Matthew 7:2 says, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” We need to repent for this, so we can live in grace.
We also need to examine our hearts to guard against judging and blaming God. Proverbs 19:3 says, “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Our hearts rage against God, even when our minds know it was not God. It is very important to speak out: “Lord, I release you! Please forgive me for holding you responsible. You are the one who brings healing.”
We need to be open to dealing with the issues of the heart as the Lord reveals them. Bad fruit in our lives comes from a bad root: the Lord is faithful to reveal those so we can be free. As we work through these heart issues, blocks to personal renewal will be removed and we will be ready to receive from the Lord. Because so much energy is wasted when we are trapped in emotional pain, anger, and bitterness, we cannot connect with God and he feels far away. If you are not sure if there’s anything in your life causing this, just ask him. He will reveal it to you because he wants you to be free.
2. Let the Father's Love Transform Your Life
“This is my Son, in whom I’m well pleased”: these are words every human heart desperately longs to hear. Even in the things of God we can fall into striving and trying to earn God’s approval and love. Yet the Father affirmed the Son at a time in his life when he had not “accomplished” anything in ministry yet. The Father expressed his love for his Son—not for what he did for him, but rather for who he was. The Father loves you at your highest accomplishments, but he loves you exactly the same in your weakest moment! His love is not based on what you do, but simply who you are.
Are you living your life as a son or daughter of God? Jesus said the Holy Spirit is our comforter, our teacher, and the one who reveals the Father’s love to our hearts. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Ask him to reveal the Father’s love to every part of your heart. Do this by taking time for the “other half” of the conversation. In the West, we live in a do, do, do culture and need to focus more on just being. Take time to rest. I’m not talking about sleeping, but about an “active rest” that waits expectantly for God. There is a time for prayer, for intercession, for worship, for reading our Bibles, but we need to take time to just be with him and allow him to minister to our hearts. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Jesus’ ministry was based on the firm foundation of his Father’s love, and from that foundation he had a very fruitful ministry. Jesus was not swayed by human opinion. His time with his Father was very important: even when people in need wanted ministry from him, he always prioritized his time with his Father. Taking moments of rest in the Lord’s presence is vital for healthy ministry.
Start today by taking at least fifteen minutes to just rest in the love of your heavenly daddy. Perhaps you can play worship music softly in the background. Pray a simple prayer like this: “Father, I’m here just to be with you. Holy Spirit, reveal the Father’s love to my heart in Jesus’ name.” Then just wait. He may say or show you something—or you might just enjoy being with him and receiving his peace into your heart. At first it may look like or feel like a waste of time, but keep on doing it—you will see the fruit of him working in your heart.
This is not about doing less for God. It is not about “the house we are building”; rather, it is about the “foundation we are building upon.” What is the motivation of the heart? Is it from a place of working to receive God or other’s approval, to be seen, to somehow earn his love or attention?
Or is it from a place of knowing that you are a son or daughter of God who is loved and accepted. There is so much more fruit when we start our day from a place of being on the same page as God. Cultivate a lifestyle of personal renewal—starting today!