My husband and I have been focusing a lot lately on the passages in the Bible that talk about our renewal. We recently heard a lesson that referenced 2 Corinthians 4:16 and “not fainting,” and it really caught our imaginations and got us thinking about what that really means in our lives.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward [man] is being renewed day by day.” (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 4:16

The way that we keep from fainting or losing heart is to have our inner selves renewed day by day. But what does that mean? How do we do that?

Renewed – to cause to grow up, new, to make new 1.) new strength and vigour is given to one 2.) to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state (Blue Letter Bible lexicon)

I find it interesting to highlight the passive wording – “is being renewed,” and the definition of strength and vigor “given to one.” The same Greek word is used again in Colossians 3:10.

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new [man] who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” Colossians 3:9-15

Having our inner selves renewed is not something that we can do alone – this is something that we need from God through Jesus. He is the only one with the power to renew us.

“‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw [them] into the fire, and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
John 15:4-8

The only way to truly be renewed is when we take the focus off of ourselves, and place it on Jesus. Without him, our efforts are fruitless. However, the fact that Jesus is the one doing the renewing doesn’t mean that we have no role to play. God is the one who does the renewing in our hearts, but we need to be open to that renewal in order to receive it. We need to submit to Him, we need to pray for our hearts to change, and we need to take action on the things God tells us to do.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, [you are] God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-11

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:7-9

Sometimes studies like this start with a question seeking very specific instructions and answers, and can be frustrating. We like a simple checklist to follow, but the Bible is just more complex than that. There is not a magical formula or checklist that will show us how to be renewed because it is an ongoing process that takes time and the work of the Holy Spirit. We have to be patient as we learn to search and cherish the word of God, and as we submit our hearts and lives to Him. But I can promise you, the Bible is full of promises of how He WILL renew us when we diligently seek Him. When we surrender to God and make a priority out of living for Him, He will change our lives in amazing ways.

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” Proverbs 8:17