How to Experience Spiritual Renewal

Jana Carlson

Jana Carlson

God's Word tells us how to experience spiritual renewal. There is hope for those in a spiritual drought or wilderness! Explore 5 things you can do for renewal.

Are you in need of spiritual renewal?

Exhaustion. Doubt. Despair. Discouragement. Grief. Trauma. Transition. All of these things can make us feel like we’re wandering in a barren wilderness, bringing us to a point of desperation for renewal.

Sometimes it’s less dramatic. Apathy has set in. We still have faith, but we feel uninterested, indifferent, unmoved, detached. Sometimes we simply don’t desire God.

Periods of spiritual drought can happen for countless reasons.

What Is Spiritual Renewal?

The dictionary defines “renewal” as:

  • An instance of resuming something after an interruption
  • The replacement or repair of something

When something is renewed, restored, or resurrected, it’s never the same as it was before.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Our longing for renewal is sometimes actually a longing for what was. We want things to go back to the way they were before.

But God has a different way. When Jesus brings renewal, He gives us something better than what we had before!

The Process of Renewal Leads To Something Better

Think of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness after God delivered them from Egypt. After desiring freedom for ages, God finally sets them free only to embark on a long and arduous journey.

Throughout that season of transition, God’s people complained and continually looked back to the way things were. Their past seemed better than their current circumstances.

But they didn’t have the Big Picture. God had something much better in mind for them! His Promised Land was full of richness and life, beyond anything they’d ever experienced!

God’s provision of that Land could have happened much quicker. There was a faster route to get there. And when they finally arrived at the Promised Land, they had to take it by force. They had to fight for it. Their possession of the promise was not automatic or instantaneous.

God was doing a work in them during their journey and their battles. His work couldn’t happen any other way. It was for their good and His glory.

And so it is with our own spiritual renewal.

Our God is a God of renewal. It’s His heart for all of us. His desire for us is better than what we’ve experienced so far. He has more for us, far beyond what we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

It happens by the Spirit of God, yet it requires something of us, too. God has His part, but we have our part.

5 Things We Can Do For Spiritual Renewal

Let’s briefly take a look at 5 of the ways we can experience spiritual renewal according to God’s Word.

1. Spiritual Renewal Happens When We Confess Our Sins

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and renew a right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10,12)

Is your heart dull because you’ve been ignoring sin? Are you trying to avoid confronting patterns of sinful thought or behavior in your life? Have you withdrawn from the Lord or fellowship with other Christians out of guilt, shame, or fear of condemnation?

Jesus has a better way! You can experience renewal today.

“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)

2. Spiritual Renewal Happens When We Learn to Know Jesus & Become Like Him

“… put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:10)

Are you growing in your knowledge of who Jesus is? We grow in our knowledge of Him through His Word. Are you reading the Bible?

Renewal begins with the Word of God. If you need a little extra motivation to read it, check out these 20 Exciting Reasons To Read the Bible. Or subscribe to our monthly newsletter for the next Wield The Word 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge.

3. Spiritual Renewal Happens When We Obey God

“Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.” (Psalm 119:40)

Reading the Bible is good. But we’re called to more. James 1:22 exhorts us to become doers of God’s Word. Have you been applying the Truths from your Bible reading to your life? Is there something you know God wants you to do, but you’ve been resisting?

Renew your commitment to obedience today. Take a step of faith.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
   and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

4. Spiritual Renewal Happens When We Don’t Conform To The World’s Ways

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

It’s surprising how easy it is to slide down a slippery slope into conformity to the world. Unless we’re intentionally practicing discernment and pursuing holiness, we’re bound to get sucked into what’s “normal” and acceptable in our society. As Christians, we are called to a higher standard.

Our renewal depends on our minds. Ask God to examine your mind today and to reveal to you areas where you’re not in alignment with His will. Ask Him for discernment.

5. Spiritual Renewal Happens When We Wait On The Lord

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

While there are action steps we can take in our quest for renewal, the spiritual transformation we crave can only be accomplished by the Spirit of God. We don’t have the power to resurrect dormant souls or revive lifeless hearts.

The popular message of the day is that women can do anything and be anything we want. We have the power within ourselves. This flawed perspective is exhausting. Eventually, mustering up the willpower and energy to do all the right things will fall short.

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to “cease striving”. Friend, be still. Take a deep breath, sit down, rest, surrender control of “all the things” and “know that He is God.” You are not. You have limitations – like every other human being.

Let God be God. You be you. Wait for Him to do His thing. Trust Him and experience a renewal of your strength. God promises to empower us to accomplish His will (Zechariah 4:6, 2 Peter 1:3).

There’s So Much More

Maybe you’ve been in a spiritual drought. Maybe your faith has taken a beating. Maybe you’re just desiring more in your relationship with Christ.

Friend, I am brimming with excitement and anticipation of what God has for you! The spiritual renewal you long for is available. Don’t give up hope!

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series.

22 Responses

  1. I love the idea of renewal, especially spiritual renewal and especially at springtime—the perfect time to think about renewing our hearts. Love your points here! Great post! Tweeted. Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  2. Confessing our sins and obeying God – so necessary. Certainly for real renewal. So often we want a special event, emotional encounter or, at the least, a formula to follow…when we simply need to start with a contrite, humble heart and a willingness to obey. God can transform us from there….

    1. Yes, Jennifer, my flesh desires something tangible and momentous. I want my emotions to line up with what I know in my mind and heart. And formula-following is my forte! But it’s all for naught without humility and submission to God’s will. Thank you for your wise words.

  3. This is so practical and good. Sometimes we get stuck in all the feelings or the lack of feelings. God is faithful and will continue to pursue us, but you are right–we must yield to Him.

    1. Feelings are real. They are God-given. But we must allow them to be informed by the Truth rather than allowing our feelings to inform what we believe. Thanks for sharing, Maureen!

  4. Nicely done. I agree with all five. Sometimes though what we really need to do is get up, go behind closed doors, and sit the beautiful presence of the Holy One. Behind closed doors – the Secret Place – we whisper His name, speak His word out loud and He touches the inner recesses of the soul. That touch alone not renews us in the most spiritual sense. When we leave that place and enter the ebb & flow of life we are equipped, prepared and not alone. The miracle in the Secret Place: The Holy God in the presence of the unholy. What happens behind closed doors? priceless!

    1. There is nothing quite like time alone with Jesus! When I wrote this post, I knew someone would comment with at least one more suggestion. 🙂 My study notes are full of more, but I had to narrow it down to five. THANK YOU for joining the conversation, Christine!

  5. So thankful for this truth: “The spiritual renewal you long for is available. Don’t give up hope!” There is always reason to hope. God will be faithful.

  6. I loved each step listed in this spiritual renewal post, especially the focus on obedience. Sometimes we forget that we have to take that initial step of obedience to God, whatever that may be for us, and then He can begin His renewal process. Thank you for walking us through important parts of a renewal process today!

  7. I love that God is God of the renewal and restoration! This gives me so much hope. I like the practical steps you mention in the post and the idea that renewal is something tangible and achievable with God and through Him!

  8. I think we sometimes think that renewal is something that comes to us without us working toward it. Great wisdom here on when and how renewal comes to us. Whenever I have doubt or despair, I’m surely not connecting with God, and isn’t that the only path towards renewal? Thanks for this post!

    1. It’s an easy misunderstanding. When we need renewal, sometimes we’re too weary to even think about making any sort of effort. But God is faithful. He blesses us in our pursuit of Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Thanks for reading, Crystal!

  9. I enjoyed this article on such a valuable subject. Sometimes we can make things more difficult that they actually are. Your tips for experiencing renewal are spot on and easy to understand. Thank you for sharing. God bless you!

  10. These 5 points are spot on. I would add “taking our thoughts captive under the authority of Christ” as another way to experience spiritual renewal. It’s so easy to start believing lies. Those lies need to be replaced with the truth in God’s word. And sometimes we just need to recognize our sadness and let Jesus walk through it with us. We need to patient with ourselves during the process and not try to rush through. Thanks for sharing on Grace & Truth this week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

On Topic

You Might Also Enjoy...

Renewal Begins With A Word

How do we experience the renewal we so desperately need yet feel so powerless to initiate? Renewal simply begins with a Word!

Spiritual Renewal is Possible!

Imagine a life of complete satisfaction. You lack nothing. You dwell in a place of beauty, peace and contentment every day. Spiritual renewal is possible!