LENT: NEW

Ephesians 4

Every day when I️ wake up and walk into my closet I️ have a decision to make, “What am I️ going to put on?” My plans for the day often determine the decision I️ make. Is it the weekend? Or do I️ have a meeting to attend? I️ sift through my clothes and fairly hastily decide between what to put on. But that being said, I️ always look through my clean clothes. Wouldn’t it be weird if I️ first looked in my dirty laundry pile?

THE DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE

And yet, disgusting as it may sound, this is the analogy that Paul provides. So often, we are digging around in our dirty laundry. We go there first when looking for what to “put on.” Rather than walking in a new way of life…we walk in the old. We stay stuck in our old mentality. And when we do so, we fail to “put on our new self.”

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,a nd 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. Eph. 4:20-24

After we hear the voice of Jesus and are made alive and decide to be a follower of Him…everything connected with the old way of living has to go. It’s rotten through and through! It stinks…like my husband’s sweaty work-out clothes. And so it makes sense that we need to put off our old way of thinking and put on the new.

PUT OFF THE OLD

Our old self has bad practices, like lying rather than speaking the truth (v. 25). Doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it. Grabbing at comfort and recreation. Do it because it feels good. Temporary satisfaction. It is a life that has no moral boundaries.

Hot temper.

Mean girl.

Profanity.

And the dirty talk.

Live like you have no rules. That’s what our old self would do (Col. 3:8-10). The old person is a bundled up hot mess of emotions and attitudes.

PUT ON THE NEW

We have to take off the old, to put on the new. Our new self is more focused on those around us, free from thinking just about “me”. We become more generous. Less entitled. We live wanting to improve.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Col. 3:12

We often fail to realize that we do have a choice. The new person has a new attitude, new emotions, and new behaviors. We ake off the old and put on the new. It is a decision that we make. This is when the rubber hits the road.

Our whole life here on earth we will be challenged with, “Will we put our new clothes on?” New ways of thinking. New patterns of living. Will we cling to the old or the new? The trials that come and temptations nearby will reveal our old patterns of thinking. All the while, Jesus nearby, pursuing our hearts to chase after Him.

HOW DO WE DO IT?

The perfectionists want to “get er done” and take on strict moral codes of behavior. But the most interesting tension exists in this mandate…we cannot do it on our own. Although we want to put on a new self, it doesn’t happen instantaneously. We can clean up our outside, but there’s more work to do…only God can clean up our hearts. 

We are given the assignment to become holy, but only God can create our holiness and righteousness (v. 24). God does the work. He gets the glory. At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. The legalist lying within tells us it is something that we have control of. But once again, God’s ways are not ours and we must rely solely on Him.

RENEW YOUR MIND

The key lies hidden in v. 23 stating that we “must renew the spirit of our mind.” In other words, we must be so grounded in the Word of God that we are not tossed around like the wind. We start looking at life with a different perspective, one that is heaven-bound (2 Cor. 4:16-18). We start walking by faith, not by sight.

We set our minds on things above so that we’re not consumed with anxiety (Col. 3:2-3). And we pray that our hearts be enlightened with the eternal hope to which we have been called (Eph. 1:18-19).

Allow God to fill you with the depth and breadth of His amazing love (Eph. 3:18-19), for when it does you live changed. When you are filled to the brim of God’s love, it comes spilling forth out of you. Your mind is renewed. Your actions are changed. Freed from the deceit of this world. Clothed in righteousness and holiness is a reflection of Christ Himself!

Prayer; Dear Jesus, may I️ take off my old clothes and put on my new today, reflecting your attitude and behavior. This is a gift of grace given by You so that I️ may reflect Your righteousness and holiness. Amen.