“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
The decade of the teens has gone, the decade of the twenties has come. If one is inclined toward making New Year’s Resolutions, then the dawning of a new decade provides an even more compelling incentive to resolve to a new standard.
Why is it, though, that our best efforts to change so often end in futility? Harmful habits might be suppressed for a season, only to return in the longer term. Sin is a formidable, and resilient, foe.
Destructive behavior patterns are most often the outward manifestations of inner dysfunction; symptoms rather than the disease itself. Unless the root cause is addressed, attempts to reform behavior will fail. Here’s an example:
Let’s say we aspire to make our speech more wholesome, constructive, and encouraging, consistent with Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 4:29. As hard as we try, we still find ourself speaking harshly and condescendingly toward our spouse. The Bible says, “... For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). By this truth, we understand that our severe tongue is not foremost a speech problem, but rather a heart problem. Our desperate need is for God to change our heart, by which we’re enabled to “take off” the corrupt old self, which is powerless against sin, and “put on” the new self, which is governed and empowered by the indwelling Spirit of God.
A transformed heart is, in fact, a requisite for effectively addressing all sin: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
Question: Have you accepted God’s gift of a new life?
Challenge: Live daily in the transforming power of the “new self.”
Prayer: Lord, mortify whatever remains of my corrupt old self. Help me to live victoriously in the newness of life, by your grace.
Arnie Knecht, Chapel Leader -- Texas Air Hogs