Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:17-24
“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)
In this passage we are given a basic formula for change. We all have old habits and sins that need to cease. We may try time and time again to stop doing certain sinful habits, but have no success in doing so. The key is to replace an old habit with a new one. Let’s work through the passage.
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.” We must first identify what our sinful habits are. Once we have identified them, we must seek the power of the Holy Spirit to lay them aside. But there is more to change that simply saying “I have to stop doing this.”
“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” In effect this means repentance. At the most basic level, repentance is a change of mind, a change in our thinking. We have to call our sinful actions what they are — SIN. We must realize how insipid and deceptive sin is and how our sin grieves God. We must admit in our minds that there is a better way. We must remember how much God loves us and what Jesus had to endure to pay for our sins. There has to be a change of mind and a change on the seat of the affections of our hearts. We must love Jesus more than we love our sinful habits.
“Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Change will not stick if we just try to put off. Our thinking has to change. We must remember that we have been made righteous and holy through the perfect righteousness of Christ that was imputed to us when we were justified. Then we can replace a sinful action or thought with things that please and honor God. Read the verses that follow this passage for examples (vs. 25-32).
Lord, I know there are things in my life that need changing. As I identify these things, I pray that You give me to power to put them off. I know that I must repent of them and have a change of mind. Remind me how much You love me and what Jesus endured when He bore my sins on the cross. Then enable me to replace those old sinful habits with things that bring honor to You.
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