Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 4:17-24
Do you have an old shirt that you like to wear and everyone around you tries to tell you that it is too worn out and needs to be replaced? But it’s so comfortable! Even when you attempt to throw it out, you may be tempted to stick it in the bottom of a drawer “just in case” you want to wear it again.
The same holds true for the believer’s old way of life. The apostle Paul describes the “old self” (who you were before Christ) as one who walks in the futility of his thoughts. This is described as “darkened in understanding,” the opposite of being enlightened (Eph 1:18). This is the result of sin which spreads like cancer in our lives and makes us foolish to the things of God (cf. Rom 1:21). This futility is also described as being “excluded from the life of God” (cf. Col 1:21). Life is found in nothing else but the living God. This life is in the now and in the future (eternal life). Paul also describes the “old self” as one who has become callous and is given over to all kinds of sin. To sum it up, the “old self” is:
· spiritual death
· mental darkness
· moral degeneracy and
· physical depravity.
Believers in Jesus are often tempted to act this way even though we have no excuse to do so.
Paul says that we are to take off our old way of life (Rom 6:6; Col 3:9) and put on the new way of life (Rom 13:14) that has been provided by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Some Bible versions translate this as something that has already been done while others treat this as a command from Paul to do so. Either way, the idea here is that this is what has happened in the life of a believer and the believer needs to be reminded of it. This “new self” is actually a restoration of what God planned for us all along by creating us in His image (Gen 1:26). In order to live in this new way of life, we have to be continually renewed by the “spirit of the mind” (Rom 12:2; Col 3:10), which, for the believer, is the Holy Spirit.
There is such a temptation to live like we used to live…to open that drawer and put on that old raggedy shirt that should have been done away with. Paul goes into detail about this struggle in Romans 7, but he tells the believer here in Ephesians 4 that we are to move on. Let the past be the past and don’t go back there. Keep running toward Christ and don’t look back!
So sport that new shirt in order that others might want one as well. Enjoy the freedom that wearing it gives you, and get rid of the old one once and for all.
1. Does your life reflect the “old self” or “new self” described in Eph. 4:17–24?
2. What is the “old shirt” that you want to keep holding on to and what will it take to get rid of it?
3. What are some practical ways you can allow the “spirit of your mind” to be renewed?
Memorize: Ephesians 4:22–24
22 “You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.”