Something kind of interesting has been going on at our Thursday church nights. Last week when Ben was in BC, I did a Bible study with the spring staff on Ephesians 4 – taking off the old self, and putting on the new. This afternoon, Ben started talking about his Bible study for tonight, based on Ephesians 4! He had no idea that’s what I had talked about last week, and he felt kind of bad that the spring staff would be hearing the same thing all over again.
But I think that only God would work out that kind of a “coincidence”, and I think that He has a message for us in Ephesians 4 that we need to be learning! Here’s what it says in verses 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’ve been a Christian since the age of 5, and sometimes it’s easy to forget what I’ve been saved from; what the difference should be between the old and the new. But when I spend time thinking about the words “righteousness” and “holiness”, it’s easy to see that I’ve got a lot of work to do. God’s been working at me – my big area is my tongue. I keep saying things that I shouldn’t, and for a long time now, I’ve been feeling convicted about it.
Ben always tells me that realizing the problem is the first step, and I should be encouraged that I’m aware of the fact that I need to change. But I don’t just want to be aware of it, I want it to change! And I get frustrated with myself, and really tired of having to apologize to people for the stuff I say that I shouldn’t!
So here’s what I’ve been learning (thanks to Beth Moore and my new mentor, love them both!):
Putting off my old self means that when I wake up in the morning, I need to start the day off right! That means that I say OUT LOUD, “Father, I want to give this day to you. I want you to crucify my critical spirit, my judgmental spirit, my selfishness, my desire to be right all the time…etc, etc.”
And then when I’ve crucified and rebuked everything, I start putting on the new stuff: “Father, I pray that you would fill me with your love for others. I pray that you would give me a sensitivity to what you are doing in the people around me, that you would show me how I can bless them and encourage them today.”
Put off and put on. I’m new at this. And I mess up a lot. But very slowly, I’m noticing that old habits can change. There are times when I’m tempted to say something nasty…and I don’t! And times when I feel like some new, really great thought comes to me, and saying it is a good thing. So it feels like we’re getting somewhere. Slow, but sure, right?!