Lifeblood is about Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Renewal is not something you can manufacture on the spot.

Like patience, and kindness, and hope — which do not arrive in your life fully formed, ready to deploy at will — you have to cultivate renewal. It is not a moment in time. Yesterday you did not feel renewed, today you do. That's a false impression. In fact, it's not a feeling at all. Renewal is the sense that the building blocks of spiritual discipline in your life and finally formed into a foundation, and now you have the opportunity to keep building.

And yet, you never stop building.

One brick at a time.

Depression, anxiety, fear. Resentment, anger, blame.

They do not crumble away with one swing of a sledgehammer. They are replaced, one thin layer at a time. And it starts with an understanding that the building blocks of renewal are not something you directly control. Instead, renewal springs forth out of your own discipline.

Here's an example.

Imagine you're a seed for a moment. You don't "make yourself grow” anymore than you can force a plant to grow. The renewing process is external, it's the Holy Spirit working in your life, it's hard to pin down.

Yet, you can plant that seed in fertile soil. You can move across town to a healthier community (more on that in another post). You can change jobs. You can find new friends. our role as Christians is not to force renewal. it is to foster the renewal that only God provides through the Spirit in us.

That's lifeblood, a concept that is not at all about a how-to list or a ten-step process. Real growth — the kind that lasts, the kind that produces fruit — is born from the inside out. We step out of the way and let the sun shine, we find good soil, we water our own garden, we avoid places of darkness and despair, and then we can step back and let the lifeblood in us produce renewal.

Th alternative is a little scary to me. Without lifeblood, we're entirely on our own when it comes to producing joy and hope in our lives, when it comes to overcoming strongholds of sin that have crippled us. And, it leads to failure, because we don't really have the power to overcome what is weighing us down. We're not potent enough. The same power that rose Christ from the grave is the same power that can help you overcome the forces of evil. We like to think we can decide to be renewed. Romans 12:2 makes it clear. Renewing is a process. It takes time. It takes good soil. We must be planted in a place that allows us to experience renewal, and then to praise God because we know it is not possible for us to produce that growth on our own.

And, this is true all every spiritual growth. We call them the "Fruits of the Spirit” because they grow on their own, without a lot of intervention on our port. That way, God gets the glory. We participate in the sense that we must figure out how to not impede the growth. The most troubling fact about sin in our lives is that it impedes growth, and it creates infertile soil.

Can this be more than a concept? Yes, because once you understand that you are not responsible for the actual growth, it takes all of the pressure off of you to do a miracle that only the Holy Spirit can do in your life. And it removes the temptation to manufacture false spiritual growth, the kind that makes you look a little better but doesn't have anything to do with being a Christian.

Renewal from God can bust through a slab of concrete. It can help you overcome the heaviest weights. Renewal that is human-powered doesn't move a blade of grass in spiritual terms. It leads to more pride.

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