Summary: Every person has various wastelands in their lives that Jesus wants to reclaim for His glory
Reclaiming the Wastelands
November 13, 2005
Just outside of Crooksville Ohio, there was a large plot of land for sale, close to 100 acres, 94 to be exact. (If memory serves me right). The price was an unbelievable $500 per acre and that made the whole land just under $50K. If fact, I think that you might be able to say that the land was a steal, for the right person.
There was one slight catch to the land. The whole thing was a barren waste, there was little of value left on the ground. The land had been part of a large strip mine operation and had never been reclaimed.
If someone bought the land, it would take them years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the land livable. A massive effort with a massive cost.
Our lives are a lot like that land outside of Crooksville; barren, desolate, desperate and stripped. We have a lot of the same qualities of that land.
Your joy and happiness has been stripped away
Your marriage is crumbling like the limestone cliffs
Your passion has eroded like the banks of the cut out hills
Your spiritual life is on a slide like the rock face
Your self worth has been mined out of you
I don’t know your problem or situation but I do know this: God looks at our lives and understands that we require a massive effort at a massive expense. This why He sent Jesus to us because He wanted us to understand the value we have in His eyes. This is why we so desperately need renewal.
What is renewal?
Renew means to make new or to restore, to begin again to resume, to regain or restore vigor, to replenish.
I’ve heard some people say that they are just fine and don’t need any spiritual renewal. Let me ask you a few questions: Are there still areas where you can grow? Then you need renewal. Are there areas of your life that you still struggle with? Then you need renewal. Can you remember a time when you were closer to God than you are right now? Then you need renewal. The fact is that we all have a need for periodic times of renewal and refreshing.
Five qualities to spiritual renewal
1. Renewal brings a transformation (Romans 12:2)
Being transformed by God is inevitably a major aspect of renewal. Paul said that when a person comes to Christ they are a new creation that the old has gone and the new has come. The key to living a transformed life is walking in the new life we have been given. Often, we are guilty of trying to drag areas of our old life with us. Whether it is attitudes or actions, we bring something with us.
The purpose of being changed by God is so we can know what His divine will is for our lives. It is for this reason, God gives us guidance and direction once we give our lives to Him.
2. Renewal brings encouragement (Psalm 51:10)
3. Renewal brings strength (Isaiah 40:31)
4. Renewal brings support (Psalm 103:1-5)
5. Renewal brings focus (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Renewal is a life changing encounter with God. There can be no true renewal without experiencing God.
How do we experience renewal?
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Renewal begins with an eager and passionate seeking of God. This scripture takes place with King Solomon dedicating the temple and has asked for God to send down His presence. God speaks to Solomon and gives an ongoing instruction for His people. This verse is not about a one time experience with God but rather is about an ongoing relationship with God.
God lays out several conditions to Solomon about having this ongoing relationship. The first condition is one of humility. Of all the things that God could have begun with, why does He start with humility?
The word humble means to be in submission, to live in a state of continual surrender. When we humble ourselves, we are giving God control of our lives. To be humbled means to be brought low.
Over the past few months, I have been studying the great revivals and one of my favorites has to be the Welsh Revival of 1904. The revival was sparked by a young man named Evan Roberts, who had an incredible experience with God. His experience flowed from a simple prayer, “Bend me O Lord.”
Are you allowing God to bend you to His will or are you trying to bend Him to yours?