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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
ReVision

Renewal

We won't have it unless we value it.

Keeper of Values (4)

I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
Psalm 119.59, 60

New values, new light
Seeking the Kingdom of God in every aspect of our lives will shed new light on our daily experience in many ways. We will begin to see things in our lives and our world that are not consistent with the presence and progress of the Kingdom of God, to which we have been called and which we are seeking. Obstacles and roadblocks will pop up to obstruct God’s calling and deter our Kingdom seeking. If we don’t find ways of overcoming these, we’ll end up frustrated, and perhaps even abandon or minimize the Kingdom values we’ve begun to embrace.

Because, at the same time, our vision of the Kingdom to which God has called us, and of His glory, which He calls us to enjoy and express, will grow and expand; and we will see our world and our Personal Mission Field through a new lens, fraught with prospects for righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We’ll want more of what we see in our calling, and we’ll discover new ways of making real Kingdom progress in our lives.

The Christian life is always a work in progress. What Paul described as a “law of sin” continues to operate in us, so that our mind, heart, and conscience still bear some of the marks and tendencies of a more self-centered than God-centered agenda, and our words and deeds, as a result, will always fall a bit short of glorifying God in Kingdom ways (Rom. 7.15-25).

Thus, we need to have yet another Kingdom value in place, so that, when we recognize these obstacles and potential deterrents to what we earnestly long to realize, we won’t back down before them, but will take them on and overcome them and continue making progress in seeking the Kingdom to which God is calling us (Rom. 12.21).

And that value is what I choose to call renewal.

A work of God
But we need to understand that the work of renewing our souls and lives is really God’s work. For our part, we must embrace renewal as a value to be firmly set in our conscience, so that we yield our minds and hearts to whatever the Spirit of God reveals and we follow wherever He leads to bring our new life in Christ to greater fruition.

Renewing our soul and life in the Lord is a daily process involving three steps. As we take each of these by faith, the Spirit meets us with the Kingdom power we need to keep moving forward (1 Cor. 4.20; Phil. 2.12, 13). We cannot renew ourselves; but we can take those steps toward daily renewal that will find us launching into the arms of the Spirit, Who will carry us on by His power.

First, we must be clear about what needs to be renewed. What sins continue to manifest in your life? Whether it’s a thought you continue to indulge, some affection that’s out of whack, or certain words or deeds that are not in line with the righteousness, peace, and joy of God’s Kingdom, you need to face up to your shortcomings and name them for what they are.

It’s easy to excuse ourselves in the face of shortcomings, failings, and imperfections. After all, no one’s perfect. But Jesus commands us to pursue perfection, for this refracts the very character of God to the world (Matt. 5.48). So if we are to settle the value of renewal in our conscience, we’ll have to get it into our thinking and our heart that, whenever the Spirit of God convicts us of some sin or shortcoming in our lives, our immediate response is going to be not to excuse or defend ourselves, but to agree with the Spirit, confess, and repent.

We’re going to admit our shortcoming, name it for what it is, and thus begin the process of laying it aside (Eph. 4.17-24).

Then, second, we can seek the Lord’s counsel for whatever next step will enable us to resume our journey of seeking the Kingdom and glory to which God is calling us. Let’s say we discover, under the leading of the Spirit, that we’ve been harboring a bad attitude toward a co-worker. We resent him for whatever reason. We speak uncharitably about him behind his back, and secretly wish he’d get fired. Whenever we think about this person we scowl and get angry or depressed. And then the Spirit shows up one day and points all this out to us.

So what do we do now? We look to the Spirit to lead us in the Kingdom path, the path of righteousness, which He will do one step at a time (Ps. 139.23, 24). Perhaps the next step is, whenever you think of this person, rather than scowling and getting angry, you offer a brief word of thanksgiving to the Lord for him. You think about whatever his positive contribution is to the workplace, and then you dwell with thanksgiving on that. And if you have spoken ill of this person to anyone else, you go and confess your sin, and share your new thinking about him. Take up just that much of a next step, and when you need the next one, to replace those negative thoughts with ones more like the way you’d like others to think about you, the Spirit will be there to lead you.

Finally, you must act. Inward transformation comes to expression in outward actions – words and deeds. When renewal has become established as a value in your conscience, and as the Lord leads you to renew your thinking and affections, you’ll want to bring renewal to full fruition through active obedience. Look for opportunities to show the love of Christ to this unlovable colleague, and when those opportunities arise, make the most of them (Eph. 5.15-17).

A lifestyle of renewal
The really great thing about embracing renewal as a value in your conscience is that it transfers so readily from some specific application or situation into every area of life. The more sensitive we become to the Spirit’s lighting up our soul and life, and the more diligent we are at practicing the steps of renewal, the more renewal will work out in every area of our lives. We will grow in our Kingdom-and-glory calling and realize more progress in Kingdom-seeking as we take up the work of renewal every day, in every area of our lives, every time the Spirit leads and guides.

We have a great salvation (Heb. 1.2), and by fixing renewal as a value in our conscience, we will daily seek opportunities to realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

For reflection
1.  When we fail in our Kingdom-and-glory calling and lapse into sin, we’re falling back into the ways of our sinful flesh, like before we were made alive in Christ. Why is renewal a good word at such times?

2.  The calling to be renewed is a daily calling. What will this mean in your life?

3.  Review our verse for today (Ps. 119.59, 60). Can you see in this verse a link between renewal and the Law of God? Explain.

Next steps – Conversation: How can believers help one another to take up the work of revival more consistently? Whom can you encourage today by sharing what you’re learning about Kingdom values?

T. M. Moore

All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

We are often asked about the Celtic Revival – what it was, why it matters, how to find out more about it. Now we have a dedicated page at our website where we have posted resources on this important period of church history. Have a look by clicking here.

Need a little help understanding the Kingdom and how to seek it? Our book The Kingdom Turn can help. Learn more about this book and order a free copy by clicking here.

Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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