Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:20-24
“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
I recently heard someone describe the Christian way of life as an “exchanged life.” I really like the idea because a great exchange does take place when we become believers — we give up control and yield to Christ’s control over our lives.
In our passage today Paul describes how we are to make this exchange. He says that we are to put off our old self and put on the new self. The old self describes our sinful nature, which is corrupt and deceitful. We inherited this nature from our first father Adam (Romans 5:12). Even after we are regenerated, we still have a remnant of this sinful nature left in us. It is sometimes called the “flesh” in Scripture (Galatians 5:19-21). As we grow in our faith, we must learn how to put off this old self. We must recognize the deeds of the flesh in our lives and put them away from us.
However, we cannot simply stop doing these deeds of the flesh without replacing them with something else. Thus Paul writes, “And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We must experience a change of mind and heart. We must realize that the Spirit of God dwells within us and that He produces spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22,23). We have the power of the Spirit which enables us to put off the old self and to put on the new self.
Let me be clear — you can never get rid of an old habit without replacing it with a new one. We cannot stop sinful habits in our own strength. We must first be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Then we are able to draw off the power of the indwelling Spirit and yield to His will. Then and only then, we can put off the old self and put on the new self which is created after the likeness of God.
O indwelling Spirit of God, give me the desire and the power to put off my old self along with all its desires and let me be renewed in my mind so that I can put on the new self and live a life of righteousness and holiness. I know that this is only possible through You.
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