Whenever I hear the word "regeneration," I always think of starfish. After all, a starfish has the ability to regenerate a limb. If a starfish loses a limb, it will begin growing a new one, and sometimes in as little as a few months, it will have a brand new leg, and you might not know it had ever been injured.
But I learned something recently that I never knew about starfish: some species of starfish have the ability to regrow an entire starfish from the limb that is broken off!.
Sound crazy? It sure sounded crazy to me. Since the limb doesn't have a mouth, it lives off stored nutrients within itself, and uses that energy to begin growing a new disk. And eventually, if it survives long enough, it'll grow a whole new mouth, and then it can start eating again, while it continues regrowing the rest of its limbs.
Suddenly, I had a whole new perpsective on Titus 3:5:
What is regeneration? Perhaps my original picture of regeneration is no longer sufficient. Regeneration is not me growing new spiritual limbs; regeneration is God taking something as dead and useless as a lump of starfish leg, and -- impossible as it might seem -- making it into something alive and useful -- a brand new spiritually living person.
And if that's regeneration, then perhaps renewing is what I always pictured as regeneration: God taking something that he has already made alive, and repairing the damage that it receives throughout the day-to-day living in this world.
I'm so glad that my God is powerful enough to make me alive when I was dead, and I'm so grateful that he's willing to repair and renew me day by day!