Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

We recently followed the Lord's leading and moved to a new church in a new area. There are some aspects of moving that are exciting and fun, but from what I have experienced, moving is mostly consumed with hard work and heart-breaking goodbyes. Transitions are difficult, especially for those of us who do not appreciate change. 

In the process of preparing for this move, my husband encouraged me to sort through some of the boxes that were stored in our shed and see if there were things that could be thrown out or donated. This was quite a daunting task, considering the shed contained many boxes that had not been touched since our last move three years earlier. Don't get me wrong - I truly enjoy a good "cleaning out" session. There is something very therapeutic about getting rid of extra baggage and giving yourself a little breathing room. But there were some boxes that held things that were difficult to release given their sentimental value. I won't lie. There were a few tears shed as I reluctantly gave away onesies, bibs, and other baby paraphernalia. Letting go does not always come easily.

You may not have to deal with the perils of moving in your own life, but do any of you engage in that time-honored tradition of “Spring Cleaning”? I know we make reference to it, but do we ever actually follow through and clean out the old to make room for the new? According to Scripture, we are supposed to do a major “Spring Cleaning” session in our hearts and minds when we surrender to the lordship of Christ.

In Ephesians 4:21-24, Paul says, "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, 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."

As believers, we are instructed to put away our old life of sin. This means there needs to be a radical break between who we once were and who we are in Christ. The selfish, sinful life deceives us into believing that it can satisfy, when in reality, it can never fulfill that promise. We must seek forgiveness for the sin in our lives in order to embrace the abundant life that God provides. 

We are commanded to be renewed by the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent of renewal in our minds. You have heard the adage that “you are what you eat.” Well, it is also true that “you are what you think.” Every action you take begins as a thought in your mind. So in order for us to live in a right relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit must first renew our minds with the truth of God's Word.

We are commanded to put on the new life of the Savior. If you have asked Christ to be the Lord of your life, then you are a new creation. All those things that you did in your past (and in your present!) are completely wiped away by the forgiving power of the blood of Jesus. Are you living in doubt and despair? You don't have to! We are called to put on the new self that is "created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) I don't know about you, but the words "true righteousness and holiness" intimidate me. However, the fact that this new life is righteous simply means that we are now in a right relationship with God through Christ. We are holy because we are set apart for His service and glory. 

You are deeply loved by our incredible Creator God. Putting off the old and clothing ourselves in the new is not about managing our behavior and making ourselves look good on the outside. It's about loving God back and desiring to do all that He has commanded for His glory. It's not about us. It is all about Him.

So what steps would it take in your life for you to throw off the old self and truly embrace the new?