Thursday, May 08, 2008

Throw Off the Old

One of the great hindrances to spiritual maturity is not changing our behavior. We hold on to little vices, telling ourselves that they do not harm our spiritual growth. What we forget is that sin has a way of multiplying. Thomas À Kempis wrote; “ The person who does not avoid small faults, little by little slips into greater ones” (The Imitation of Christ, p. 62). Our little sins tend to turn into bigger ones.

Isn’t true that our small sins often control our lives? The reason we do not get rid of these sins is because they are either addictions or they allow us to feel part of this world. While God has called us to be foreigners and pilgrims in this world we want to fit in with the people around us. We tend to hold on to whatever we can so we can feel like we are a part of this world.

These small vices pose a bigger threat our spiritual growth than we would like to admit. They keep us from experiencing God at work in our lives and thus to trust Him with more and more of our lives. On top of that they provide a doorway for bigger and more addictive sins to enter our lives. As long as we are willing to play in the mud of sin, no matter how shallow it might seem, we will always make ourselves targets for greater sin.

The apostle Paul wrote:
20 However, that is not the way you came to know Christ. 21 Surely you have listened to him and have been taught by him, since truth is in Jesus. 22 Regarding your former way of life, you were taught to strip off your old man, which is being ruined by its deceptive desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new man, which was created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24; ISV)

The Apostle Paul wanted to make sure we understand that there must be a throwing off our old way of life. We can’t follow Jesus like we should if we continue to hang on to the vices of our old life. Not only do the keep us from experiencing God the way we should and lead us to greater sins, but ultimately the keep us from being a blessing to other people. Paul writes; clothe yourselves with the new man .That means being a Christian is about having a life that is dramatically different than what we find in the world around us. In this world of confusion about what life is all about Christians are to SHOW the world that there is a better way to live. We are blessings when we display our new nature that is found in Jesus Christ.

As long as we are hanging on to our old vices, no matter how small they might be, we are not allowing our lives to be changed. If we are not changing then we are not showing the people around us that there is a better way to live.

God knows that we cannot change everything overnight. He knows of our weakness, and that is what grace is all about, we don’t have to fear God’s judgment every time we sin. What God is interested in our faith as we take the necessary steps to remove sin in our lives which hinder our relationship with Him.

When we begin to take these steps we discover a greater intimacy with God, a strength and hope to deal with greater temptations, and the ability to be a light in the dark world. Part of having faith in Jesus Christ is throwing off our old way of life and trusting Him to provide a better way to live. Are you willing to trust Jesus to lead the way?

  • Point to Ponder: Being a Christian is about having a life that is dramatically different than what we find in the world around us.
  • Passage to Remember: Ephesians 4:20-24
  • Question to Consider: Are you willing to change the way you live and follow Jesus?

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