“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”
(Psalm 51:10 AMP)

Renovating an old house can be accomplished from the inside out or from the outside in. Interior renovation projects can be performed slowly and carefully over time without significantly disrupting the living routines of the occupants. Exterior renovation projects can be very disruptive to family life with the use of powerful tools and noisy equipment. Spiritual disciplines are like the tools used in a renovation project and they develop Christlikeness in believers. Practicing spiritual disciplines such as Bible study, prayer, worship and fasting slowly renovate a person spiritually over time from the inside out. God has given people the spiritual disciplines as a gift to renew a right spirit within them. If we voluntarily choose not to practice the spiritual disciplines to get closer to God then he will permit external circumstances to arise in our lives to accomplish this goal from the outside in which is often a more uncomfortable process. Much pain and associated life disruption coming from external personal trials may be avoided if we voluntarily work on interior spiritual renovation ourselves.