Keys to Long-Life

Chapter 4 - The Renewal of our Youth

We have seen that part of our inheritance in Christ (God’s will for us) is to have abundant life which includes a good and long life loving and serving the Lord, as well as eternal life and glory. Psalm 91:16 says of the man who puts all His trust in the Lord: “with long-life will I satisfy Him and show him My salvation.” Connected to God’s promises of long-life are His promises of youth-renewal, for to live long we surely need our youth to be renewed. We will see many exciting examples of this in the lives of the Bible heroes.

Psalm 103:1-5 says that this was not just for them, but for all believers. These verses tell us about the BENEFITS of the Lord to us: “BLESS the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, BLESS His holy name! BLESS the Lord O my soul, and forget not (remember) all His BENEFITS: 
(1) Who FORGIVES all your iniquities (this is for all), 

(2) Who HEALS all your diseases (this is for all), 
(3) Who REDEEMS your life from destruction (the curse), 
(4) Who CROWNS you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

(5) Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your YOUTH IS RENEWED like the eagle’s.” 

Youth renewal is a benefit of God that is available for all believers, and we should believe for it and thank and bless God for it, saying: “Bless the Lord, He renews my youth.” 

Psalm 103 tells us that we should REMEMBER to RECEIVE and THANK (bless) God for all of His gracious BENEFITS to us. We should not forget or neglect to receive and thank God for any of His benefits. One of these vital benefits is the RENEWAL of our YOUTH (v5): “He satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your YOUTH is RENEWED like the eagle’s.” In order to enjoy long-life, we must know how to receive the RENEWING of our YOUTH, life and strength. 

Eagles have a long life, perhaps greater than any other bird, even up to 100 years. Often an eagle can look like it is oldand past-it, but then it moults and renews its feathers, so that it seems to become young again - its youth and strength is renewed. It gets a new lease of life and once again it is able to stretch its mighty wings, and rise up high on the winds. When we feel we are feeling we are beginning to wind down, getting older and more tired, and forgetting things more, God wants to provide this renewal of youth for us also. He wants to give us a new lease of life to re-energise us into long-life. Now there is a natural ageing process, that is at work, but 

God can still infuse His life and strength into our bodies and minds, so that we can rise up again with fresh wings as an eagle with renewed feathers, and soar again as before:

Isaiah 40:28-31: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives POWER to the WEAK, and to those who have no might He increases STRENGTH. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on (intwine themselves with) the Lord shall RENEW (exchange) their strength (youth);they shall mount (rise) up with wings like EAGLES, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (their youth renewed).” 

The key is to come to God in our weakness and wait upon Him. The word ‘wait’ means intwine, and it pictures two ropes wrapped around each other, so that the smaller and weaker rope receives strength from the larger, stronger rope. We are to draw near to God and wrap ourselves around Him, so that His strength comes into us and fills our weakness. In this way our strength will be renewed by His strength. The word ‘renewed’ is literally ‘exchanged’, so that we exchange our weakness with His strength. So if we come to God in prayer and draw upon His strength, He will renew our strength, life and youth, overcoming our tiredness and weakness, so that we will not be weary or faint. 

Let us look at how the Bible heroes discovered this secret:

*The Apostle Paul learnt how to draw new-life and strength from God by faith when he was feeling weak and tired. When he was at the end of his strength, God told Him that His GRACE was sufficient for him in his weakness. This means that God’s renewing and rejuvenating life and strength is freely available to us as a free-gift of grace, and we can receive it at any time. Moreover, God taught him to welcome these times of conscious weakness as opportunities to deepen his dependance on God and lay hold of His life and power all the more, for it is only when we are aware of our weakness and need for God’s help, that we call out to God from the depths of our heart for His life to fill and renew us. As a result, the more we are aware of our weakness, the more we can know His power resting upon us, if we turn to Him in our weakness, trusting Him to renew, refill and recharge us:

2Corinthians 12:9,10: “He said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for My STRENGTH is made perfect in (your)WEAKNESS.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities (situations that make me aware of my weakness), that the POWER of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities (weaknesses), in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am WEAK (in myself), then I am STRONG (through the strength the Lord supplies).”

Thus as we get older, we need to increasingly learn to depend upon His power to renew our strength and vitality, so that we receive His life into our minds and bodies. In this way we will maintain active, healthy minds and bodies into old age.However, we need to start believing for God to renew our youth in this way, even when we are relatively young. 

Paul saw every test, hardship and setback as an opportunity to believe God and experience more of His power and answered prayer, so that God would be glorified through him. There is no testimony without a test! In 2Corinthians 12:9,10 Paul claimed that God’s grace is sufficient for any infirmity (weakness). He surely proved this to be true in his own life, for he faced all kinds of attacks, trials, and persecutions, both physical and mental, which often brought him to the end of his strength. In fact in the previous chapter he gave a detailed list of the kind of infirmities he had to face, and in which he found the grace (strength) of God sufficient to see him 
through and to revive and restore him spirit, soul and body:

2Corinthians 11:23-29: “in labours more abundant, 
in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, 
in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received 39 stripes. 3 times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; 3 times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, 
what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak?” 

Taking 2Corinthians 12:9,10 in context, we can see that these were the kind of infirmities that Paul was talking about, and which he overcame through trusting in the sufficiency of God’s grace, even as he felt totally weak in himself. This encourages us, because whatever we are likely to face is nothing compared to what he faced. So if he found God’s grace sufficient in these extreme trials, surely we will too! Notice that the infirmities that Paul went through were often life-threatening situations, in which Paul had to stand in faith to receive God’s grace to save and preserve his life so that he could fulfil his ministry. He had to believe in God’s power to revive and restore him again afterwards. He often came to the edge of death, and had to believe in God’s resurrection power to work in his body to overcome death and keep him alive, and then to renew his strength and vitality (youth) again, so that he could continue with his mission: 

2Corinthians 1:8-10: “we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we 
were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead (by His resurrection power in us)
, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.”

Philippians 3:10:
 “that I may know Him and the power of 
His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

There is an ageing process at work that increasingly makes us aware of our weakness, but in our weakness we can lay hold of God’s strength and life for our body and mind, to receive a renewing of our youth, and to overcomethe power of death.In fact, it is the weakness (need) we feel (whether from a trial or from the ageing process) that should stimulate us to turn to God to draw upon and receive His life-giving grace. Thus our weakness can be the very springboard for us to receive the strength, life and power of the Lord. Awareness of our weakness should cause us to transfer our trust from ourselves to God who raises the dead, and so is able to deliver us from the power of death and revive and renew us again. Paul often came close to death, but through faith was able to tap into God’s life-giving resurrection power for his body and soul, so that he could continue his ministry of declaring God’s Word.As death approached, I can see him confessing: "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (Psalm 118:17). The attacks Paul faced meant that had he not been continually believing God for LIFE, death would have taken him too soon, but again and again he found God’s renewing grace was available and sufficient for him to overcome death. 

We are not called to be strong in our own strength, but to be strong in the strength (power) of the Lord by faith: “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). If God commands us to be strengthened by His mighty power, so that we are filled with His strength and life, then He must make it freely available for us to receive! 

Paul describes his experience again in 2Corinthians 4:7-12: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels (weakness), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that THE LIFE OF JESUS also may be MANIFESTED IN OUR BODY. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that THE LIFE OF JESUS also may be MANIFESTED in our MORTAL FLESH. 
So then death is working in us, but life in you.” 

When the spirit of death pressed in upon Paul, he was able to receive the LIFE of JESUS MANIFESTED IN HIS BODY to push back the power of death, until his mission was fulfilled.

Paul’s intention in describing his sufferings and experiences of God’s renewing grace for his body and soul was to encourage us to receive the same grace (life) from God. Let’s now see where Paul expressly tells us it is available to us all.

In 1Corinthians 15:57 Paul gives thanks to God for giving US this present victory over death: "Thanks be to God who givesus the victory (over death) through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The whole chapter is about our victory over physical death through Christ, so Paul is talking about God giving us victory over physical death. Of course this will ultimately be fulfilled at the resurrection of the body. But notice Paul does not say:"Thanks be to God who WILL GIVE us the victory”, but: "Thanks be to God who GIVES us the victory (NOW).
”He thanks God for giving his body resurrection-life, so that he can overcome the power of death and fulfil his mission.

This verse also gives the key to how to lay hold of Christ’s resurrection life for our bodies. Paul (1) believed and received the promise of victory over death through the resurrection-life of Christ, and (2) he confessed it with his 
lips, thanking God for it: "Thanks be to God, who gives us (now, in this life) the victory (over physical death) through(the resurrection life of) our Lord Jesus Christ." 


Paul believed that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God gives us the victory over the power of death in this life.

He did not just believe it, but he proclaimed it, expressing his faith by giving thanks to God for this victory over death. He thanks God for releasing resurrection-life to his body, enabling him to overcome the power of death and fulfil his mission. Likewise, by faith we must resist the spirit of death, and trust God’s promise to impart Christ’s resurrection life to our body NOW, and then like Paul, GIVE THANKS to God in confident faith that He is doing it, saying: "Thanks be to God who gives me the victory over death through Christ."

Our DECLARATIONS of faith through CONFESSION of the promise and through THANKSGIVING that He is doing it now, release our faith and the resurrection power of God to work within us to overcome death and renew our youth. 

Say with faith: "Thanks be to God who GIVES ME THE VICTORY over death through my Lord Jesus Christ." 

Romans 8:11 is a wonderful promise that we can claim in order to receive His resurrection life into our mortal bodies: 
"If the (same) Spirit of Him (God, the Father) Who raised up Jesus from the dead DWELL IN YOU, (then) He (God)
 
Who raised up Christ from the dead, SHALL (certainly) 
ALSO give life to YOUR mortal BODIES, by His Spirit."

The same Holy-Spirit Who imparted life to the body of Jesus, and raised Him up from death to life, totally overcoming the power of death upon Him, now LIVES and ABIDES in us, and is ready, willing and able to also give life to our bodies! As the Spirit of God reversed death in the body of Jesus, so He can do it for us, by giving (imparting) life to our bodies. He SHALL do it, not MIGHT do it, if we ask (trust) Him! 

Now some say this verse only applies to the resurrection ofour body at the last day, but the emphasis of the verse is on our life now - what the indwelling Spirit will do for us NOW. It describes the Spirit living in us, as we live in our mortal (death-doomed) bodies on the earth and giving our bodies life. It promises that God will give life to our MORTAL bodies, not to our DEAD bodies. Moreover the context confirms that Paul is talking about the believers’ Spirit-filled life now. 

The Spirit is our Helper, and is ready, willing and able to impart God’s resurrection life to our bodies. If we believe God’s promise and call on Him in faith to release this life, strength and healing power into our bodies, then we will receive a renewal of life, strength and health by His Spirit.

We need to believe Romans 8:11, and learn how to tap into that life of the Spirit that raised Christ up from death. There is a story about Kathryn Kuhlman, who was famous for her big miracle-healing services, in her biography: ‘Daughter of Destiny.’ Pastor Ralph Wilkerson saw that she 
was still full of life afterwards, and asked her what her secret was, because he would always feel exhausted after praying for so many people. She said that when she was tired, she had learnt to stand on Romans 8:11 and receive by faith the life-giving ministry of the Holy-Spirit for her mortal body. 

Confess: "The same Spirit of Him who raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in me, and He shall also quicken and give life to my mortal body by His Spirit who lives in me. Thank you Lord, for giving me that life now."

The same mighty resurrection power that raised up Jesus from death is now freely available to us who believe, through His Spirit within us and it is able to give life to our bodies: “the exceeding greatness of His POWER TOWARD (available to)US who believe (is) according to the working of His mighty POWER which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:19-21). We should pray for a revelation of this power so we can tap into it by faith (v11-18). God is 

“able to do exceeding above all we ask or think according to His power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20). God wants us (spirit, soul and body) to be “strengthened with might by His glorious power” (Colossians 1:11).

As we continually draw on God's renewing and healing power and so fulfil our years in health and long-life, our lives will be a witness and demonstration of His resurrection-power.

Psalm 103:5 tells us one of God’s BENEFITS to us that we should remember to thank Him for is the RENEWAL of our YOUTH:“Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your YOUTH is RENEWED like the eagle’s.”

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