“…Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception… Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” (Eph. 4:22, 24)
At our house, we have two dogs… a golden retriever – and a beagle. The golden is big, soft and fluffy – with a nature to match. The beagle is remarkably different. Energetic, stubborn, extremely willful. The difference between them is obvious when we take them for a walk. The golden stays right with us – and if she wanders off for a bit, we just call her name. and she returns promptly. On the other hand, we have the beagle… as soon as we open the door he is off, at lightning speed, nose to the ground, chasing every scent of every critter in the neighborhood. And when he wanders off? Let’s just say that we can call and call (tempt [with treats] or threaten) — he could care less about heeding our voice.
Their different natures made a huge difference in their training. The easy-going golden was a cinch to train to all “the rules of the house.” The beagle? Let’s put it this way… he’s almost two years old and the training is still ongoing!
Now, we love both our dogs (because they are part of our family) – but there are many times when we wish that our beagle was more like our compliant golden retriever.
But here’s the problem. It is only a beagle’s nature that causes him to act like a beagle. He really can’t help it much. Everything in him demands that he is just as he is. Through decades of breeding, those natural beagle qualities are in his beagle DNA. Frustrating as he may be (at times), he is just a beagle, being a beagle.
So, if we want to change his behavior (to be more like our golden) we would have to take out his old nature (the beagle nature) – and replace it with a new one (the golden’s nature). We really can’t change the behavior of the dog until we change what causes the behavior. The old must go, and be replaced by the new. For beagles to be like golden retrievers, you have to completely replace their nature.
As we return to our topic, for this month, we begin to realize something very important.
When it comes to us, God’s solution was NOT to try and fix us, or reshape us, or to revamp our behavior (through years of intensive religious training). His solution was ingenius! He porovided us a new nature – one that was actually “created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”
If you will, He made it possible for each of us to take off the “beagle” and put on the “golden.”
And that is the whole point behind what he did for us in, and through, Jesus. The New Covenant is God’s solution for the greatest problem that we humans face. Our problem is us! It is in our nature to be stubborn, willful, rebellious, and self-interested. In order to make us like Him, He had to do something about what causes us to NOT be like Him.
So He did.
But He did not force this new nature on us. He left it up to us to “throw off” the old and “put on” the new. Every day of our lives.
We can all still choose to live our lives by the old nature, if we want to do so. But NOW, we don’t have to live that way. We can BE new. The new nature is fully provided through Jesus.
You are NOT becoming a new creation – you ARE a new creation. Because of the new nature provided to you through the work of Jesus!
Prayer focus: God, help me to take off the “old” and put on the “new” today, and always.