Posts Tagged old self

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.

That’s Life

Romans 8: 5 – 6

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

I hope you have been enjoying this abbreviated look at the life Christ bought for us and I hope you have a bigger idea of what your life now is supposed to be like. It is a Deuteronomy 28 and beyond lifestyle and it is all yours in Christ. Once you die to your old ways and thoughts, you can move into the new life in Christ.

The Greek word used here and translated as “life” is zoe. There are other Greek words which also are translated as life. The use of this particular word is significant, though. Zoe, means the God kind of life. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says this is “life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself.” We have become partakers of God’s life through belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

We had one kind of life before Christ. We can continue to live in that kind of life even after salvation if we so choose but for those who decide to crucify the flesh, there is newness of life and that is this zoe, or God life. The life force of God is available to those who decide to give up self and live to Christ.

I don’t think we are even beginning to understand this life of God and the impact it can have on us when it becomes resident in us. I know I cannot fully appreciate it yet because I still worship self too much. I still think my old way at times, react in old ways and have my wants and desires enthroned in the temple of Ivey instead of making Jesus the absolute center of my world.

What happens in a life that truly is abandoned to God? What could our lives really be if we could learn to crucify our self-centeredness? I don’t know but I believe we could live way beyond anything we are currently experiencing, beyond what we can imagine. I don’t think it would be life as we know it. It is easy to think that if we have God’s actual life force at work in us then nothing would, or even could, be impossible.

I hope this week’s verses have caused you to ponder the possibilities. As Christians, where are we now? Where could we be? What could life hold for us and those we may impact if we could wrap our heads, or better, our spirits around the concepts found in these verses? What would it mean to your personal existence if the life of God filled you to overflowing? I want that for you, for all of us. I would also love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Post a note or send a reply. I pray zoe for you.

Newness of Life

Romans 6: 4

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Yesterday we looked at the sixth verse of this chapter which was about crucifying our old self. As we see today, that is not the end. After self is crucified, it is supposed to be buried. The problem many of us have is that we keep digging up that old man. The newness of life, however, is in our death, burial and subsequent resurrection, not in digging up the dead.

We die “so we too might walk in newness of life.” Picture the old you, the you that you grew up knowing, nailed to the cross with Jesus. It may be a bit macabre but it also highlights an important spiritual reality. Watch as the deceased “old you” is removed from the cross and laid in a tomb with Jesus. You are dead and buried. Then see what happens when Jesus arises from the dead. Are you awakened by his stirrings? You arise with him. The old life is gone but here is a new life, a renewal through Jesus. You are born of his resurrection and of his new life. You are a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away.

Get a picture in your mind of how this new you looks. Is there a new countenance to your face? Do you perceive something new or different about yourself? This dying to self and burying the crucified flesh is not just a cute story or analogy. God would tell you this is the real deal. He is trying to show you the reality of what is happening in the spiritual world. You can have newness of life – you were meant to, but it comes in this strange wrapping of death, burial and resurrection, I mean actual death, actual burial and actual resurrection. Although these are spiritual realities that does not make them any less real than physical realities and in truth, they are more powerful than the physical because the spiritual realm trumps the physical.

If you can wrap your head around these verses and not treat them as mere analogies, then you can arise with new breath and every fiber of your being will react to the new life within you.

Funeral Pyre

Romans 6: 6

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

I had a dream last week which I would like to share with you. As the dream opened I saw myself carrying what I understood to be an urn of human ashes. I did not know whose ashes they were but knew that I was supposed to spread them for the deceased. Suddenly, there appeared before me a statue of Jesus. Have you ever seen a statue of Jesus? I have not but I imagine it would be one of him humbly attired, standing with an expression of peace and compassion adorning his face. This was not that statute. This was a statue of a heroic Jesus. He was standing with one foot on a rock, head lifted and chest thrusted out much the way Captain Morgan commercials depict people. I was surprised at this pose. Jesus’ hair was shorter than expected and his face looked toward the horizon with a slight smile and a victorious expression. I remember thinking, “Well, that makes sense,” even though I was initially surprised. Then I understood to scatter the ashes all around the base of the statue, which I did. That was the end of the dream. Okay Joseph, what does it mean?

It wasn’t until I awakened that I realized the ashes were mine. Have you heard the expression, “dying to self?” God was calling me to crucify the old man, incinerate his ideas, plans and ways. I was drawn to lay the charred ashes of my former self at the feet of the victorious Christ. You and I are supposed to stand with him in victory but we cannot do that in our old selves. We must cast off the old man and be renewed in Jesus’ victory and resurrection.

We fight bitterly to hang on to our old selves but in the end, there lies the path of destruction. When we stand with Jesus, the ashes of our former self trodden under foot without a thought, we stand on high ground reaching toward the horizon ourselves. No sin, no pain, no slight or injury from our past mars the glory which shines upon our faces because they have been incinerated. Our faces reflect Jesus and the glory the Father has given him since the beginning of time. We are in Jesus and have already overcome. Just die and you will live. You will truly live for the first time in your life. All of the shackles will fall from your heart, your body will feel light, young and strong and you will have the wind of the Holy Spirit in your lungs. Just die, it is the healthiest thing you can do.

Melting Away

Colossians 3: 8 – 9

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from your mouth, do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.
As we set our eyes on those things above, we must take care that we do not resurrect those things from our old self. But the good news is that as you keep your eyes on Jesus, those old things will feel foreign. They are inconsistent with your new self and soon they become uncomfortable. Then they will begin to melt away from you.

It is interesting how many of the above offenses are committed with our mouths. Getting our mouths under control is the bulk of the battle but with our eyes fixed on Jesus, he lends his strength to us so that in our weakness, we are strong. As we focus our attention on seeking Jesus and our Father, his power is made alive in us. Our worship and love of him draws us away from our old behaviors. They will eventually become as repugnant to us as they are to Him because we are drawing closer to Him every day and becoming more like Him.

Dead and Buried

Colossians 2: 12 – 13

[H]aving been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.

Because of and through your faith in Jesus, you have died, been buried and raised by the power that is at work in God for Jesus. For the power that raised Jesus from the dead, is alive and has renewed you too. If you have given your life to Jesus, then your old self has died and been buried. The life you now live is a new life in Christ Jesus. It is his life that we live because we are a part of Him. And for goodness’ sake, don’t go resurrecting that old man. He is dead and stinks. Leave him in the grave. Live a new life; one in Jesus. Live the life that Jesus bought for you. You are a new creature. The sin of the past has been buried and so have the habits of the past. Leave them with that old, dead flesh. All that was in the old person was only leading you to death and destruction. The new life that Jesus has purchased for you leads to life everlasting as well as victory here on this earth. Don’t let the devil trick you into considering your past and your old self. That person has died and all those problems died with him. Let your mind consider the glorious life that Jesus has given you, a life in Him and with Him. Let your mind stay on that so that your joy can be made full.

Help, I’m Dying

Romans 6: 4, 6

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him.

I wish to share with you today about healing. Now I realize that the verse I chose in order to discuss health and healing looks more like a discourse on dying. Ultimately that reflects the point I wish to make though. Healing is in death. If you want to walk in all of the enormous benefits of Jesus’ triumph, including perfect health, then you must die.

Galatians 2: 20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. This is generically spoken of as dying to self. We are to crucify ourselves, our flesh or worldly selves, and take on the life of Christ, joining with him in holy union so that he lives through us and we live in and through him. Ephesians 4: 22 and 24 give us an even more clear understanding: “In reference to you former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 

Our old self was crucified with Christ and buried with him but we tend to continue wearing grave clothes instead of donning the robes of righteousness given to us by Christ Jesus. The renewed life is in doing as Paul teaches us in these passages; take off the old self and bury the carcass. Then put on Jesus in his fullness and glory. Jesus told us that in the new age, the age in which we are living, that he would live in us, he is the glory and righteousness within us. “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14: 20). This is the great revelation and triumph of the New Covenant. The Messiah has come, Emmanuel – God with us.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8: 11). You see, it is God within us which is health and healing to our bodies. The healing power of God is alive in us right now. We just need to live to that truth instead of living in the world and its decay. We shuck off the old self, don the new life in Christ and ask Jesus to fill every cell of our bodies.

If we are inviting Jesus and the Holy Spirit to indwell us then ask them to fill you to overflowing. I am reminded of the freshmen physics course where the professor fills a beaker with rocks and asks the students if it can hold any more. When they answer in the negative he pours in small gravel bits. Oh my, now is it full, can it hold any more? “No,” they proclaim. So the professor trickles in sand. “Okay, how about now?” “Certainly not!” From below the desk top the professor produces a beaker of water and begins to add water to the first beaker.” 

So, I would ask you, “Is the beaker now full?” I suggest that it is not. If the Holy Spirit was the water we could analyze that, as with each medium, the Holy Spirit is filling the negative space or the empty space. I posit, though, that after the water is added to the beaker that there is still room for the Holy Spirit to fit in that beaker. He goes in and fills the molecules and the space between the molecules and he fills the atoms and so on down to the smallest atomic particle. That is the vision I wish to share with you for your body. As you cast off your old self and put on the new self, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you down to the smallest atomic particle. Ask him to saturate every cell of your body with his presence. 

Every day see your old self dead and buried and envision your new life in Christ filled with all that he is. Let your life in Christ permeate you. In death is resurrection. In death is life. I know it is paradoxical but you can handle the paradox because you have the mind of Christ. When you die to self you can live to Christ and when Christ is your life then all of the power of the universe is not only with you but within you. You only have to die.