3 We were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, and slaves to our desires and various pleasures too. We were spending our lives in evil behavior and jealousy. We were disgusting, and we hated other people. 4 But “when God our savior’s kindness and love appeared, 5 he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our savior. 7 So, since we have been made righteous by his grace, we can inherit the hope for eternal life.”
Today’s passage reminds us of a key work of the Spirit in the lives of believers: renewal. From the moment we are moved to offer our lives to God, we stand in constant need of renewal.
The author of Titus (traditionally assumed to be Paul, but likely a later writer) describes the Spirit’s work through the lens of personal experience: once we were evil, jealous, hating other people. But by God’s mercy, we have been saved for something else. By the Spirit, we have become something different. We are no longer foolishly caught up in our own desires, but instead we live in the kindness, love and grace of God.
This doesn’t happen because WE desire to change. You and I both know that our own attempts at change are often total failures. We simply don’t have it in us.
But, thank God, there is power in the Spirit to change us. God does what we cannot do.
And the great thing is that this isn’t a one-time promise. It’s not like one of those HGTV shows where they come and fix everything in the house and it all looks great until the last shot is filmed, and then the homeowner is stuck with the maintenance and upkeep. No, we have this promise of renewal that continues well beyond our first encounter with God, right up to our very last day on earth. As our faith wavers, as we wander, as we lose hope, or maybe even grow bitter, the power of renewal is still present to us at every age and stage of life.
By God’s grace, we never have to stay as we are!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Where are you in your spiritual journey? Are you early on, being re-made and working to set aside bad habits and old sins? Or do you feel you’ve matured to a degree and now seeking to walk closer to God in everything? Or perhaps you feel as though you’ve become jaded and skeptical. What do you need from the Spirit today?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, be at work in my heart to renew and strengthen my faith today. Remind me that I don’t ever have to stay as I am if I don’t want to! Amen.