We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church. In my last post I began talking about the renewing of our minds. We saw from Ephesians 4:23, that it’s a work that’s accomplished in the spirit.
…to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Ephesians 4:23 NIV
Even the phrase be made new is full of meaning. It’s the Greek word ana-neoo. Neoo means brand, spanking new, right out of the box. Ana is a prefix that adds an intensive repetition. This renewal is to be done over and over again.
This is the only place in the Bible that this word is used. Every other place the word renew means to freshen or renovate. In this verse we’re talking about resetting everything back to the original factory settings. This is the ultimate do-over. But it can only be done in the spirit.
That’s why I place such a high emphasis on prayer in the spirit. Without it we have no chance of overcoming the sin nature or walking in the renewed life. I feel that the renewal of the mind is the most important part of the process. Without setting our mind correctly, it will never fully cooperate with God’s plan.
This is reiterated throughout Paul’s ministry. At one point he felt the need to remind Titus, a young pastor, about these things. He reminded Titus what they were like when they first came to God. They were just like everyone else in the world. They thought and acted like everyone around them.
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
Titus 3:5 NIV
The salvation process is described here in two parts. First, the washing of rebirth – the removal of the old man and the putting on of Christ. Then came the renewal by the Holy Spirit. We have to give up the idea that it’s just about reading the Bible.
As important as Scripture is to us, I know many people who aren’t even saved, who read the Bible every day. Their lives show no improvement because of this practice. The Bible will only bring change if it’s activated by the Holy Spirit.
That’s why this is not a one-shot deal. The word renewal contains the thought of repetition. We must continue in it day after day. Prayer in the spirit is not a holy “toy” that we take out of the box merely to play with on Sunday mornings. It’s a vital agent of change that needs to be cultivated day after day. We must continue to refresh and reset our minds.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
In the context of this verse, Paul is not talking about the entire church. We read this and think that every Christian is being renewed daily. That is absolutely not the case. In all of 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, Paul is talking about himself and his ministry team. Paul, who prayed in the spirit more than most believers of his day, was allowing himself to be renewed daily in the spirit.
This is why our daily time with the Lord is so important. We must take the time to read the Bible and pray in the spirit. Reading gets the written word into you. Prayer in the spirit activates that word and brings it to life within your heart.
That’s how you live in daily renewal, just like Paul. Not doing this is one of the biggest hindrances to serving Christ in His ability.
Question: How do you spend your daily time with the Lord?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi