Mark D. Roberts

Renew My Life!

I long to obey your commandments!
     Renew my life with your goodness.

Today is the first Sunday of the new year. Thus, before we return to
our normal walk through the Psalms (we’re up to Psalm 21), I thought I
might focus today’s reflection on the theme of renewal.

Psalm 119, the longest of the Psalms with 176 verses, celebrates the
truth and power of God’s revelation. In many and various ways, the
psalm writer says, “I long to obey your commandments” (119:40). Verse 40
includes a short prayer: “Renew my life with your goodness.” The Hebrew
word translated here as goodness ” is tzedaqah, which is often
rendered as “righteousness.” The whole prayer might be translated
literally, “Make me live in your righteousness.”

So, how does God’s righteousness renew us? For the psalmist, the
answer to this question lies in the power of the law when activated
through our obedience. God has revealed in his Word the very best way to
live. As it says elsewhere in Psalm 119, God’s Word is “a lamp to guide
my feet and a light for my path” (119:105). Thus, if we walk according
to the righteousness of God’s revelation, we will experience a fuller,
richer life. In this sense, our life will be renewed through God’s

From a New Testament perspective, God’s own righteousness is
revealed through Jesus Christ. In fact, according to 2 Corinthians 5:21,
“For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in
him we might become the righteousness of God” (NRSV). When we put our
trust in Christ as our Savior, our relationship with God is made right.
Along with this righteousness comes new life in God’s love and grace.
Thus, a few verses earlier in 2 Corinthians, we read, “[A]nyone who
belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new
life has begun!” (5:17).

As we begin a new year, we would do well to join the writer of Psalm
119 in asking God to renew us through his righteousness. May we pay
attention to God’s Word so that we might walk in the ways of life. And
may we live each day in a right relationship with God through Christ,
receiving God’s mercies, which are new every morning, and sharing them
with others, our family and friends, our colleagues and competitors.

you already experienced God’s newness through Christ? In what facets of
your life would you like to experience the renewing power of God in

PRAYER: Gracious God, as I begin a new year, I
acknowledge that life is found in you. Thank you for the life you have
given me, not just biological life, but also abundant life, eternal
life, life in all of its fullness through Christ.

O Lord, with the psalmist, I ask you to renew my life by your
righteousness. By your Word and Spirit, guide me in life-giving paths.
May the righteousness I have been given in Christ be that which centers
my life. In this new year, may I grow in my relationship with you, so
that I may know you more truly, serve you more completely, and love you
more fully.

All praise be to you, O God, because you are making all things new . . . even me. Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God ( You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.

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