“Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)
Several days ago (see the post from August 21 ), we talked about why putting on the new self is so difficult. Initially, it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like us. We feel so comfortable in the old self.
That is part of the problem that we face as Christians. It is all too easy to run back to the “shoe closet” and put the “old shoes” back on our feet.
It is important to realize what the old represents. It represents our best efforts. The old is formed by our struggles, our energies, our abilities, our intellect.
So often, we run back to the old whenever we are faced with challenges in our Christian lives. We have tended to buy in to the belief that “good Christians” have worked harder, prayed more, studied more of the Scriptures, and applied all their energies to doing all the good moral things they should be doing.
And when we fail, to live up to “the standards,” our solution is to commit our selves to working harder, doing more, avoiding more of our “pitfalls,” and re-doubling our efforts at doing good.
But, here’s the truth… We cannot walk the Christian walk in our old shoes.
Our first significant step in true Christianity is the understanding that God is not seeking more of us in His plan for us – He is seeking for us to put on what He has provided so that we can actually do what He is desiring us to do. He is looking for Himself in us. And we do not earn His presence by our efforts. We do not gain His favor by our energies. All our efforts and energies are the old shoes – the old self – the old you.
In our verse for today, did you notice the description of the new self? It is “created (God’s effort; past tense) after the likeness of God (WHO it is patterned after, already) in true (actual) righteousness and holiness (description of the new self: Who God is, and what God does).” The new self is God’s work, reflecting God’s character and nature. And it is God’s provision to us – as a gift of His love for us.
God is not asking us to do stuff that pleases Him. He is asking to put on the new self – which is just like Him, and the new self will (naturally) do what God does.
It is that simple.
We make it hard. Because we often find ourselves running back to the old, putting it on – then failing to live in the way we know God asks of us.
All our failures, all our addictions, all our shortcomings, all our mistakes… they are all tied to the old self. When we are wearing the old – we cannot help but fail.
On the other hand, when we put on the new – we cannot help but be and do what God is seeking from us. Because it is God’s handiwork, God’s design, God’s character and nature that is working in, and through, us to do what God desires.
Prayer Focus: God, today I seek to put on the new and keep it on! So that I can accomplish what You desire to do through me.