Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Chinese medicine has practiced pearl powder exfoliation for thousands of years, using ground pearls to scrub away dead cells resting at the top of the skin. In Romania, rejuvenating therapeutic mud has become a widely sought-after exfoliant that’s purported to make skin youthful and glowing. All over the world, people use body care practices they believe will renew even the dullest of skin.
The tools we’ve developed to maintain our physical bodies, however, can only bring us temporary satisfaction. What matters more is that we remain spiritually healthy and strong. As believers in Jesus, we’re given the gift of spiritual renewal through Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The challenges we face daily can weigh us down when we hold on to things like fear, hurt, and anxiety. Spiritual renewal comes when we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (v. 18). We do this by turning our daily worries over to God and praying for the fruit of the Holy Spirit—including love, joy, and peace—to emerge anew in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). When we release our troubles to God and allow His Spirit to radiate through us each day, He restores our souls.
How can you ask God to renew your spirit? How does the work of the Holy Spirit encourage you today?
Jesus, each day I face obstacles that try to break my spirit. Sometimes I feel defeated, but I know that through You my spirit can be renewed.
For further study, read A Story of a Life Led by the Spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16–18, Paul describes finding hope—despite earthly suffering—because of an inward renewal (v. 16) and the assurance that through our struggles God draws us toward an “eternal glory that far outweighs” (v. 17) all suffering. The ideas in this passage are closely echoed and developed in Romans 8. There Paul writes that believers, as coheirs with Christ, “share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (v. 17) and concludes that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (v. 18)—a future when all of creation will be “liberated from its bondage to decay” (v. 21). And like the reminder of 2 Corinthians 4:18 which affirms that the believer’s hope is grounded in unseen, eternal realities, Romans 8 reminds us that “hope that is seen is no hope at all” (v. 24).
Learn more about why God allows suffering.