RECENTLY I decided not to renew my subscription to an excellent national magazine. There followed one renewal notice after another. Three times I received a letter indicating that this was absolutely my last opportunity to renew the subscription at the least expensive rate. Someone even called on the telephone and asked if I was certain about letting the subscription lapse. I was not annoyed by the publishing company, because I had genuinely appreciated the magazine. In fact, their persistence finally led me to examine carefully my motives for not renewing the subscription. Ultimately I renewed, and I have been pleased with this decision.
This small incident set me to examining some of the other ``renewal notices'' in my life. I realized that frequently I felt an inner call for spiritual renewal. The call didn't come in the mail or over the telephone. It was something welling up within my heart. A yearning for more peace or greater vision.
Sometimes our ``renewal notices'' are more forceful than an inner yearning. We feel downright frustrated and dissatisfied with what we are doing or thinking. We feel that our inspiration has lapsed. We hunger for something better, some kind of renewing experience or view.
This hunger is a good thing, and not to be ignored. But how do we go about answering this call for renewal?
For centuries, many people who have felt an emptiness in their daily existence have turned to the Bible and found fresh inspiration. The Bible speaks to our inner longing for faith in something beyond matter. The Bible does not present merely philosophical ideas about inner renewal. It tells about the actual struggle of people searching for a reliable source of joy, health, and strength. In a host of different ways, the searchers find God as the source of renewal. For example, a Biblical prophet learned that ``they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength....''1
The Apostle Paul, who experienced extraordinary transformation, urges us: ``Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.'' And he tells us, ``Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.''2
These passages point up the ``how'' of spiritual regeneration. They give us something to do. We are urged to ``wait upon the Lord.'' And we are called to put off the corrupt, deceitful, lusting man, while accepting ``in the spirit of your mind'' the man created by God. This man, God's man, is described by Paul as ``created in righteousness and true holi ness.''
God's creation isn't dull, uninspired, or lacking vision. God's offspring are recipients of His love and care. We are His children. This is our true, eternal identity.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, offers us this view of God and man: ``The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.''3
As we accept our God-given identity and determine to live in harmony with it, we find an upsurge of joy and purpose. We begin to give up the ``old man'' with his limited and redundant views and to put on the ``new man'' of God's making. We feel the freshness and harmony that come from listening to God in prayer. And we are less discouraged by the temptations to believe that life is burdensome and meaningless. We recognize that these temptations are simply renewal notices--calls to remind ourselves in prayer of the truth that God's generous supply of goodness has never lapsed.
1Isaiah 40:31. 2Ephesians 4:22-24. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 470-471. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me....Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. Psalms 51:10,12