Posts Tagged Ephesians 4: 22 – 24

New You

Ephesians 4: 22 – 24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I was reminded of this verse today and heard a new liberty in it. This is instruction to cast off our former ways and begin living in our new life created to be like God, bought with the blood of Jesus. I heard some new things today though.

First, I am created to be like God and you are too. This is for the here and now. Is that mind expanding? That is what it means to put on the new man. You and I can walk in this earth like God, as did Jesus. That is the model for your life on earth. This is exactly why God sent us the Holy Spirit, so that we can walk in God-like righteousness and holiness. This isn’t the holier than thou mantra either because there is no arrogance in Christ. We can be others centered and still emotionally and mentally whole. We can walk without blemish when we don his robes. This tends to stretch your brain just a little, at least.

The second thing I got out of today’s reminder is that we are empowered, we have the ability and God given grace, to leave a bunch of junk behind us. I usually think of this verse only in terms of shucking the old me behaviorally, but there is much more opportunity embedded in this verse. We are given the right and ability to bury the sins of our past but also of others. We can leave behind, put off from us, the injuries of the past. Old hurts, bad memories can, and should, be the things of the past. We get to put on a new us each day. Isn’t that good news? This is an ongoing dynamic. You don’t just cast off the old self once. No, you get to bury yesterday’s mess. Today’s mistakes, errors, and sins are tomorrow’s graves. Give it all to God and let Him file it on Pluto for you. Maybe there, we will find it more difficult to dig it up and examine it again.

We are not people who should be looking behind us, but rather new creatures formed in the likeness of God Himself, who look forward, even beyond the horizon. I like the end of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie when Jack Sparrow says, “Bring me that horizon.” That is us, leaning forward, looking for the next opportunity, growing and stretching to our new horizon and then beyond.

Put on your new self, casting away the former one who was laden with too much junk and bad behaviors. Put on your new you who has been transformed by the renewal of your mind in the grace of our Lord.

Whiteboard

Ephesians 4: 22 – 24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dr. Jim Richards of Impact Ministries (www.impactministries.com) has a break-through program called Heart Physics. It is a powerful tool for moving forward in life, breaking through those things which have held you down and just generally improving the quality of life. One of the strategies that Dr. Richards teaches is to put off the stuff which is binding you and to put on the freedom which Jesus purchased for you. 

As Dr. Richards leads us through the put off and put on I often imagine myself wearing a robe like would have been worn in Jesus’ time. I see myself taking off my old robe and putting on a brand new one. You can get creative with your mind picture. Perhaps you see your old robe as beige to brown; maybe you notice the signs of wear, dirt and even some stains. As you begin to don your new robe, the one Jesus went and bought for you, you might see him taking it out of a box and holding it up for review. It is pristine white and even shines. Watch as he holds it for you to slip into. Together you wrap your body in that beautiful robe which almost looks as though it is made from white, white light.

We can change our old garment for a new one. We can exchange old images and beliefs for new ones. Heart Physics is a methodology whereby we can actually write truth on our own hearts. Most of us have been fed lies at some time or have believed something untrue about ourselves. In fact, much of what we once believed about ourselves has been eradicated by Jesus’ ministry. Therefore, one of the most powerful aspects of Heart Physics is that you can go onto your own heart’s website and erase what is there and rewrite the story. Here is a visualization I use for that process. 

Tabula Rasa is a Latin term which goes back to a Roman tablet which could be used for writing, erased and written upon again. You will see that it is understandable that Tabula Rasa is rendered “blank slate” in English. It is a philosophical term which has strong implications in Western Society but we can also use it as a spiritual device. I imagine my heart as a large whiteboard; perhaps it is 4’ X 6′. This is my tabula rasa. I watch myself approach the whiteboard which is covered with writing in many different colors. Then I watch as I pick up the eraser and erase everything that is there. I am left with a completely white board, a completely clean writing surface upon which I can inscribe whatever I want.

What would you write on the tablet of your heart if you had the chance? Would you draw a picture, write your name in different colors, or even post pictures of yourself as you choose to see you? Well, it is your board, do as you wish. Here are a few thoughts though. Get into your heart zone first. If you don’t know how to do this go to Impact Ministries’ website and discover Heart Physics. When you do see yourself standing before a completely white board, write truth. Write upon that board, which is your heart, what Jesus says about you. See yourself through the Father’s eyes and post that picture. Then under that picture write: redeemed, beloved, saved, restored, glorified, justified, cleansed, healed, renewed, full of grace, and so on. Go back every day and look at the truth about you. Keep adding to your board. Put up a second board if you need more writing room. Tape up a picture of Jesus and you together. Add fabric, color, whatever you want. Maybe you can see Jesus writing on it. Make it real, make it yours. Anytime anyone’s opinion or image of you, other than Jesus’, appears on your board, erase it. Oh how fun that may be. Have fun. Be creative. You are your own tabula rasa and you own all the crayons. Write your story!

Put on Jesus

Matthew 5: 48

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

How many sermons have you heard on this verse? Not many I’ll wager. No, we are too busy confessing that we are “just old sinners saved by grace.” Well, let’s get a new revelation and a new confession today. Jesus said we are to be perfect in the image of our heavenly Father.

I will tell you for a start that when some ministers come across a difficult bit of scripture like this they begin to get all theological and come up with amazing theories about what that scripture means. Perhaps I am just not as intellectual as they but I suggest that we start with taking the word at face value. Words mean what they mean. Jesus used he words he meant to use when he said be perfect and just because we are theologically challenged does not suggest that they do not mean what even a child could read and understand. I think sometimes we can be too smart for our own good. Jesus thought so too because he said we must become like children. In fact he said that if we would see the kingdom of heaven we must become like children (Matthew 19: 3). So, today’s verse really is quite simple. You are to be perfect. Let’s not confuse it with a lot of theoretical gibberish. 

Since Jesus told us to be perfect he must have known a way for us to accomplish it. I would suggest that THE WAY is Jesus (John 14: 6). Paul told us to shuck off our old selves and put on the new self which is Christ Jesus: “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24). There you go. It really isn’t at all complicated. Put on Jesus as your robe of holiness, righteousness and truth. 

Now, I said it isn’t complicated but I did not say it was easy. We love to hang onto our old selves. We enshrine the “old man” on the throne of our hearts. We were taught, “It’s every man for himself” and “You’ve got to grab all you can get.” Those are heathen values; not Godly values. We are told to die to self and live through Jesus considering other people’s needs as more important than our own but what an internal revolution that takes. We must begin by choosing to lay down our lives for our Messiah. Once we do, then we can take up Christ. We put on the perfect like donning the majestic robes of the King. As long as we stay in the perfect, we are perfect. This is our mandate. This is the commandment. “Live in Me” (John 15: 4 God’s Word Translation). 

We weren’t commanded to TRY to be perfect. We are commanded to BE perfect. In the famous words of Yoda from Star Wars, “There is no try. There is only do.” So change your self-image if need be. Please change your confession if you are still calling yourself a sinner and then change your clothes. Put on the robes of the righteous one, the perfect one. Put on Jesus.

 

Dressed for Battle

Ephesians 6: 11

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Perhaps you have heard many teachings on the armor of God. Well, today I wish for you to think of it a bit differently. First, let’s look at the five pieces of armor. There is first truth, then righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation (v. 14 – 17). After donning this raiment of protection you then take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Having put on all of these shielding characteristics you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil and defend yourself from his fiery missiles. 

When you pull this scripture apart in this manner you may find something curious. Each of these characteristics is reminiscent of a particular person. Look again. Who are you reminded of when you hear truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God? Well, of course, each one of these is Jesus. He is the truth, our righteousness and so on. So the revelation this scripture should lead us to is that we need to put on Jesus. The essence, then, of triumphing in spiritual warfare is to put on Jesus. 

So, how do we don Jesus? Paul had the right of it. He told us that we must put off the old self with all of its encumbrances and put on this new self in Christ which is in the very likeness of God, which Paul tells us, is accomplished by renewing ourselves in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24). This is very much like the teaching he gave to the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12: 2). 

We put on Jesus which is the equivalent of putting on the protective armor of God and then we are able to stand “strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6: 10). We are to abide in him and him abide in us (John 15: 4). Picture yourself taking on all that Jesus is. Imagine him stepping into your body even as you integrate yourself into him. See yourself so enmeshed, so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where you end and he begins and vice versa. Now, how would that impact your life? Might your priorities shift a little? Would your thoughts and meditations be different? This isn’t about behavior modification it is about letting Jesus live with you, letting him be a part of every part of your day? It’s not about imagining what Jesus would do or have us do and try to live that but rather to live him; to put him on and just be. This is the armor of God, living in Jesus, living with Jesus; making him a part of us and everything we do. He is our breath and our life. He is our victory.

The Seed of Life

John 12: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

No one wants to die but if we die to Jesus, giving him our lives, then we are born anew of incorruptible seed which bears much fruit.

Jesus was talking about giving up his life, dying, so that he might bear much fruit. Only through death does the wheat generate new life. So it is with us. When we lay down our lives God creates a new life with that seed. We are reborn in the image of Christ. This is not, however, primarily a salvation message unless you embrace the full definition of salvation. When Jesus speaks of salvation he means saving grace in absolutely every area of our lives, in every aspect of human experience. 

Paul wrote about this need to lay down our lives and live to Christ. He said “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4: 22, 24). You see, there must be a continual surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. We must continually bury our self-induced desires and put on the mantle of Christ. In other words, this dying to self is, at least for most of us, a continuing process. Few people have the ability to once and for all give everything to Christ. Typically we grow in our spiritual life and as we do we find things which we are ready to release to him. The central theme is that we must crucify this flesh which seeks only to indulge self. It seeks to satisfy and promote the ego. When, however, we take on the crucifixion of our Lord, we bury the selfish desires and live unto him. We seek to honor and promote him. The only way to do this, though, is to die. And when we do, he raises us anew. Each time we bury a self-oriented aspect of our personalities he raises up a glorified version. Then there is no more striving for then we can truly walk in his grace. Our eyes become fixed on him and we live in him. 

This may sound mystical and other worldly but it really is as simple as taking our eyes off of ourselves. We may notice how often we use the pronoun “I” and surrender those areas to our Christ. We may notice when our vision is full of ourselves instead of on the kingdom and pray for help in crucifying the carnal person. The key is that when we die, we live. Everything that we bury, Jesus resurrects in new and glorious life. We never lose anything. We gain everything.

Please search your heart today. Is your energy spent satisfying your needs and desires or are you truly devoted to Christ today? Is he your focus and desire? Is your work dedicated to him, your leisure, your home life, your thought life? Are your songs a testimony to him? How about the words you speak? I am not saying that you cannot have anything for yourself. I am only saying for you to let him give them to you instead of you seeking them.