For those who are in Christ, they are no longer who they used to be, but have been remade as new creations! Sometimes we fall into the danger of only doing half of this command: put off the old, put on the new.
- Put OFF the old: Stop looking at porn. Stop overeating. Stop idolizing academics. Stop living in fear. Stop your harsh words. Stop your boasting. Stop your selfishness. These things are killing you!
- Put ON the new: Start walking in sexual purity and begin to honor your spouse (present or future). Start honoring the Lord with your eating and begin to be thankful. Start exalting Christ as God instead of your grades and begin to work hard as an act of worship to Him. Start living by faith and begin to take bold steps for His kingdom. Start listening and begin to use gentle speech just as God has done with you. Start to boast in the cross and begin to grow in humility. Start to serve others and begin to have a heart of love and sacrifice just as Christ has served His enemies. These things will give you LIFE!
What God calls us to is radical transformation! In the very areas where we have been weak, and wrong, and sinful, He calls us to be strong, be right, and be holy. Imagine the transforming effect this would have on the world, if liars became champions of truth, if adulterers became standards of marital faithfulness, if gossipers became spreaders of encouragement?
But you may respond, "Okay, gotta buck up and get to work. STOP being dumb and evil, START being good and holy. Right, got it." And perhaps you're only seeing the moral command: stop being bad, start being good. What is wrong with that? Simply: we can't do it. The only motivation and empowering that we will have to walk in newness of life is to realize two things: 1. The sin that we are putting off has been REMOVED from us by the death of Christ (nailed to the cross!), and 2. The righteousness that we are putting on has been GIVEN to us by the grace of God (gifted justification!). So the command to put off/put on is really just a command of: LIVE how you really ARE in Christ already.
Here are three questions for your own application: What do you need to put off of your old ways? And secondly: What do you need to start to put on? And always check your motives and heart: Am I being motivated by moral self-improvement and guilt? Or the grace and redemption and FREEDOM of the Cross?
Thankful for God's transforming redemption,
The Relentless Fight