Joe Theismann, sports commentator and businessman, enjoyed an illustrious NFL career with Washington Redskins as an All Pro quarterback.
Theismann, who led the Redskins to two Super Bowl appearances–winning in 1983 before losing the following year, when a leg injury forced him out of football in 1985, is entrenched in the record books as Washington’s all-time leading passer.
However, at the end of Theismann’s career he learned a bitter lesson. In an interview he said, “I got stagnant. I thought the team revolved around me. I should have known it was time to go when I didn’t care whether a pass hit Art Monk in the 8 or the 1 on his uniform. When we went back to the Super Bowl, my approach had changed. I was griping about the weather, my shoes, practice times, everything.”
“Today I wear my two rings.” Joe said, “the winner’s ring from Super Bowl XVII and the loser’s ring from Super Bowl XVIII. The difference in those two rings lies in applying oneself and not accepting anything but the best..”
Renewal is a theme, we’ve been addressing throughout this year. Theismann’s admission reminds us of the need to keep focused, continue growing and stay fresh in the pursuit of our life’s goals. This is true in sports, business and even in our spiritual walk of life.
To keep from getting stale spiritually and lapsing into an indifferent, lazy and complacent attitude, we must regularly practice the discipline of spiritual renewal.
In Ephesians 4:23, Paul urged, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
Even though the apostle was at times perplexed, persecuted, physically afflicted, he wrote to the Corinthian church, “We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16).
Renewal, according to W. E. Vine, involves an “adjustment of (our) moral and spiritual vision.” It means we must fine tune our thinking to be in harmony with the mind of God. The word suggests “continued action.”
When a person is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, he comes into a special relationship with the Lord. But baptism is a one time event. Disicpleship and spiritual renewal is a life-long process. It is never-ending.
So, how do Christians keep from getting stale? How do we stay spiritually fresh?
(1) Regular Bible reading.
The Psalmist said, “Revive me according to your word” (Ps 119:25). The Word of God keeps us focused on who we are. Who God is. And our need to grow in our relationship with God. The Word is our source of spiritual strength. Our daily manna. And our life-refreshing drink.
(2) Weekly worship
First century Christians were commanded “not to forsake” the worship assembly (Heb. 10:25). Of course, worship is primarily about God. It’s our time to honor, praise and exalt Him.
But worship also invigorates the worshiper. Close communion with God in collective worship is a regenerating experience. Worship revives. Refreshes. Renews. True worship “in spirit and in truth” will keep you from getting stale.
(3) Engaging in Fellowship with other Believers.
The “one another” passages, found over 40 times in the New Testament, remind us that Christianity is not a solo act. It is to be experienced together. And through mutual and regular association we will enjoy renewal.
To Christians who were slipping and falling away, the Hebrew writer admonished them to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24).
(4) Reading Good Books.
While no book written by man can replace the Bible, godly writers can offer insights, commentary and practical application to our daily lives. Scholarly writers can enlighten us. Bible commentators can edify us. Devotional writers can encourage us.
Find good books, written by spiritual minded people who can lift, refresh and renew your spirits.
ThePreachersWord is but one of many blogs available that offers daily spiritual renewal. Use these as a means to not only grow and learn, but simply receive some daily refreshment.
I enjoy acapella CD’s of hymns and spiritual songs from college choruses and other groups that revive the spirit and provide inspiration to draw closer to God. You can enjoy renewal through these at home, at work or driving in your car.
(7) Religious web sites.
While the internet can be an abyss of moral putridity, it also offers many opportunities for spiritual renewal. Sermons, classes, lectureships, articles and other useful Biblical information can be found on various church web pages, as well as those of preachers and other organizations.
We must work to “be renewed.” It’s a life-time challenge. But the spiritual rewards are out of this world!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman