Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Inner Renewal Is NOT Inevitable (2 Cor. 4:16)

This morning has started out beautifully! It's actually going to be in the 70s this weekend! Cannot wait! For some reason, I found myself in 2 Cor. 4 this morning. 

What really struck me was Paul's expression "day by day" in verse 16. 

"Though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." 

God calls us to live day by day. Just as in the Old Testament he provided a fresh supply of manna every morning, and just as the manna had to be gathered every day, so God offers us a fresh supply of his grace every day, but we have to gather and receive it. Our failure to do so, I believe, is a major cause of the spiritual complacency and stagnation we see in the church today. If the people in our churches would only feed daily upon the word of God, conferences on the Bible like the one I'm speaking at next month in Wilkesboro wouldn't be so necessary. God calls us to live as his children from day to day, looking to him expectantly for the grace we need. And so Paul can say, "Our outer man is being renewed day by day."

But note: there's nothing automatic about it. For the renewal to take place, we must be actively engaged in gathering the manna daily. On the other hand, the decaying process Paul describes here is automatic and unavoidable. There is a built-in obsolescence in the human body, as I am discovering only too well. Nothing will remind you of your mortality more than aging spots! 

It is the inner renewal that is not inevitable. The inner life has to be cultivated. We need to humble ourselves before God daily and acknowledge our weakness and dependence upon him. Then and only then will his power be made perfect in our weakness.