If you’ve ever had a fresh Christmas tree in your home, you know what it’s like to water it and work to keep it strong and green. It gives off such a wonderful smell of pine when it’s freshly cut! Over time, it doesn’t look quite as fresh anymore. No matter how much you water that tree, it’s just decided it’s done being fresh and green. Then, those pesky pine needles start to drop all over the floor. By the time you take it out to the curb, half the needles are still in your house on the floor, and it sure doesn’t look like that strong, sturdy tree you first brought home.
Sometimes, I think people liken their lives to that Christmas tree. They only have an expectation that life will be good for so long, and then they just expect it to decline. Maybe this describes you. You’re not feeling as “fresh” as you used to, and for physical or emotional reasons, you’ve lost that zest for life you once had in your youth. Well, this Christmas, I’m here to tell you about one of God’s greatest gifts to you as His child that can put pep in your step and a spark back into your life, and that’s the gift of renewal.
God’s Promise of Renewed Strength
Let me set the record straight: I plan to die young… at a very old age. Or, to put it more accurately (since, as a believer, I’ve already done all the dying I’m ever going to do), I plan to depart this earth and go to heaven as a very youthful old man. Spiritually, I have the DNA to do it. So do you and so does every other born-again child of God. As people of faith, we all have great spiritual genes. If you need evidence, just take a look at Abraham. He lived to be 175. According to Romans 4:11, KJV, he’s “the father of all them that believe.” So longevity runs in our spiritual family.
It’s not the kind of longevity that just involves a lot of years, either. It’s not the kind that leaves you weak, worn out and sitting in a nursing home. No, it’s the kind that comes from having your youth renewed. That’s what happened to Abraham. At somewhere around 100 years old, he got a new lease on life. His old body that had aged to the point where it was reproductively dead, got a fresh spark. The same thing happened to his wife, Sarah. At 90, she started coming alive as never before. So at an age most people consider ancient, Abraham and Sarah started over. They stepped into the fulfilment of God’s promise and had a baby.
Think of it! Those are the spiritual genes we inherited when we received Jesus as LORD, and God grafted us into the family of faith! We’re born again into a lineage of folks who were famous for living vibrantly on earth for a long, long time. We know we have their spiritual DNA because the Bible says, “Those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:9, 29, NKJV).
I have made a quality decision to lay claim to that heritage. I’m following the example of Abraham knowing that, because I have the same covenant of BLESSING, if I do what he did, I’ll get the same results.
Beware the Generational Curve
One enemy I encountered a few years ago is what I call the generational curve. That’s an influence passed down through our natural parents and grandparents. In my life, that curve came through the Indian bloodline that runs through my mother’s relatives. Physically, and in the way I think, I take after her side of the family. But there’s something I’ve had to guard against: People on that side of my family start going downhill at about 70 years old.
Take my grandfather, for example. A strong, hardy man all his life, he hit his late 60s and began slowing down for no apparent reason. When he turned 70, he retired, sold the North Texas farmland that had been his home for years, and moved to town. He continued to decline until he passed away. My mother’s life followed generally the same pattern. She lived just about the same number of years that he did. The year my mother died, I was sitting beside her hospital bed late one night praying for her to receive healing, when all of a sudden, the word of The LORD came to me. Your mother doesn’t need healing, He said. I was so startled, I jumped. “Well, You could have fooled me!” I answered. “Look at her! After reminding me of how quickly she’d gotten healed of the pneumonia she’d had a few days earlier, He said, Her body parts are worn out. What she needs is not healing but the covenant benefit in Psalm 103:5.
I looked down at my open Bible and read it. “Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (NKJV).What The LORD told me next changed the course of my life. Youth renewal is included in THE BLESSING of Abraham that’s yours in Christ Jesus, He said. If your mother had laid claim to that benefit and declared it over her life every day, things would have turned out differently for her. She didn’t know she should do that. But you do! You ought to say every single day, “I receive the benefit of my youth being renewed today!” That was in 1988, and I’ve been claiming youth renewal ever since.
Thank God I did, too. Because about 20 years later, the devil snuck up on me through that generational curve. A few years before I was about to turn 70, I started wanting to quit. I’d look at my preaching schedule and think, I’ve been at this for 40 years now. I ought to just get in my bass boat and head up the creek. I ought to relax, retire and get ready to die. Let me tell you right now that no born-again, faith-walking believer should ever think about quitting! We don’t have any business retiring from God’s service at 65 or 70 years old. We ought to give Him at least 100 years to BLESS the world through us.
Meanwhile, I found out my physical body had been affected. I went to the doctor with pain like I’d never experienced in my life. He diagnosed it as degenerative joint disease. The MRI he took of my spine showed one of the disks had ruptured, and a piece of it had worked its way into the nerve canal of the spine. As if that wasn’t enough, the doctor did a full physical on me and found out my adrenal glands had just flatlined. I had no strength. So it wasn’t just my mind wanting to quit. My body wanted to quit, too. I was going downhill fast, and the devil thought he had me beaten.
But there was something the devil didn’t consider: Psalm 103:5—THE BLESSING of youth renewal I’d been claiming by faith ever since 1988.
Act Like Abraham This Christmas
Then, just like Abraham, I started giving glory to God. I determined to be grateful and give Him thanks by faith. It occurred to me, for instance, that even though some parts of my body hurt, others didn’t. So I’d thank Him for that. I thanked Him that I was saved and going to heaven instead of hell. I thanked Him for my children who are all serving Him. I thanked Him for all kinds of other blessings He’s given me. After a while I noticed that as long as I was shouting my gratitude to God, I wasn’t hurting. So I just kept it up. Somewhere along the way, my physical body started changing. I don’t know exactly when. But I can tell you this: Sixteen months later, all signs of degenerative joint disease had vanished. I’ll be 80 years old this month and instead of slowing down, I’m gearing up. Instead of getting weaker, I’m getting stronger.
My physical body has been quickened by the resurrection power of God! Not only have I been healed from the disease that tried to destroy me, my adrenal glands are functioning. My thyroid has come back to life. I’m more alive in every way than I was 20 years ago! I have a fresh spark. I’m enjoying a whole new fruit-bearing season of life, and I intend to live it to the fullest until Jesus and I are both satisfied. Not like some old Christmas tree that has a short season of glory, then just withers away.
Then, and only then, I’ll depart this planet like Abraham did. “He died at a good (ample, full) old age, an old man, satisfied and satiated, and was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8, AMPC). The way I see it, that’s the only way to go.
Dare to Shine His Light on Renewal!
- Take inventory of your life. In what areas do you need renewed strength? Write them down and acknowledge them before God.
- Begin to speak the promise of renewed strength over these specific areas of your life.
- Speak the promise of renewed youth and health over yourself every day. Say “My youth is renewed just like the eagle’s! I receive the benefit of my youth being renewed every day!”
- Identify any generational curves you may have in your family, and determine and confess that they don’t have to belong to you! Begin praying that you will break those curses and overcome those obstacles with God’s help. Be like Abraham! Give glory to God and thank Him by faith while you’re waiting for renewal.
BY KENNETH COPELAND