For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Do you live in a part of the world where the trees lose their leaves in the fall? Strangely, they become their most brilliant, with leaves of red, orange, gold, and brown right before the cold freeze of winter arrives, stripping the leaves and leaving barren branches. Yet when spring follows winter, there is hope for renewal, and as the warmth of a spring sun gradually drives back the frost of winter, there is the expectation that new life is here, that there is hope.
When everything is the same all the time there is weariness to the landscape--whether it is driving rain or blazing sun, or even life itself. Perhaps you're feeling like the man who admitted, "I'm not growing any more. I start my day about 5 A.M., work hard all day, my laptop and phone follow me home and then I work most evenings. When I read my Bible, I'm so tired that nothing makes sense." No wonder he isn't growing! Speaking of tired, maybe you're a mother of young children on a 24/7/365 schedule and locking yourself in the bathroom might be your only hope for a moment of quiet.
We all need renewal, but the question is, how do we find it? How do we keep ourselves alive spiritually? A few quiet moments alone is good for anyone facing the stress of meeting deadlines and caring for others, but you've probably realized that you don't find time for renewal; you have to take it. This means prioritizing your life and schedule. Often, rising 30 minutes earlier than you normally would and having those few quiet moments with Jesus is the key to personal renewal.
But no matter how early you get up--whether it is 6:00 a.m. or 4:30 a.m.—you'll inevitably find things that need immediate attention. It is amazing how sharp your recall is when it's time to open God's Word and hear from God. All kinds of important things that you've forgotten will suddenly scream for your attention.
Here's a suggestion: First prioritize and protect a few minutes each day--preferably at the beginning of your day--which is your time for renewal. Then concentrate. The best thing your eyes can land on when you first open them in the morning is God's Word. Reading your Bible gives you the perspective and encouragement you are guaranteed to need in your coming day. Romans 15:4 speaks of the "encouragement of the Scriptures" which gives hope. When your hope doesn't come from God, there isn't much to bring encouragement. It's looking upward that makes a difference.
The famous preacher, Charles, Spurgeon, said, "A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't." But it's not just reading the Bible that renews you. The important thing is hearing from God--not simply reading five chapters or ten minutes, whichever comes first. Some people read through the Bible every year—that's admirable. However, it is better to read even a chapter or a verse with understanding than plowing through pages without meaning. If you are having trouble concentrating, then read out loud, a single word at a time, or read with a pen and underline important thoughts.
Then take a moment to think about how what you've read informs your life. This means application, making course corrections. Sometimes it's helpful to write the thoughts that come to you in a notebook or on an app.
Finally, pray, letting God know where you are in your life, asking His help in situations you cannot change, and asking Him to use you to touch the lives of those around you. Without daily renewal, life becomes a barren wasteland and depression is just around the corner. Renew and refresh today.
Resource reading: Romans 15:1-13