Is it time for something new?
February 16, 2022, 11:08 AM

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24

Have you ever wanted a fresh start? There have been some seasons of my life where I wish there was some sort of reset button. A few seasons were marked with poor decisions and choices and I long to go back to make it right. But since I cannot go back, I push forward, hoping that the lessons learned along the way will keep me from making the same mistakes again.

But something lingers in our lives that keeps us prone to repeating mistakes: our old self. It seems no matter how much progress we make, our old self lingers and surfaces from time to time. On our own power, we cannot get rid of the old self. This reality begs the question, what do we do? Thankfully, Jesus takes care of the old self, and replaces it with a new self. In order to have a new life, the old life must die. Jesus went to the cross to remove the old self, and took it a step further by coming back from the dead. The life that was raised is the life we partake in. Paul knew firsthand the journey from an old life to a new life. 

Paul's old life was one that persecuted followers of Jesus. His goal was to stop the movement. But one encounter with Jesus changed everything for Paul. He stepped into a new life that pursued Jesus. You may argue that a new life is far away because your current or old life is so bad, but the beauty and scandal of grace is that no matter what, a new life can still be given. The grace of Jesus makes it so that the worst of lives can still be made new. As a result, Paul’s new life was motivated by helping everyone have an encounter with Jesus.

So, Paul taught people what he knew best, the incredible transformation that comes from encountering Jesus. Paul’s challenge was and is to renew the mind and put on the new self that carries the likeness of God. Easier said than done, right? But the secret to a new life is found in His presence. Think about the people you spend the most time with. As you spend time with them, you begin to take on some of their sayings, actions, and responses; the same is true with Jesus. As you walk and do life with Jesus, He begins to rub off on you. 

The new life you long for is given by Jesus, and is developed with Jesus. As an added benefit, Jesus created community for the same influence. When you spend time with other people walking with Jesus, it grows and develops the new life you desire and adds extra protection from the old life you want to put away. Paul reinforced a new life in many of his teachings and for good reason. There are a lot of important realities to learn in order to walk with Jesus well, but the starting point is always that you are a new creation. Because you are a new creation, you can cling to Jesus’ promise that, “... if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). How do you respond when your old life tries to surface?

Prayer: Father God, thank you for making all things new. Your love was too great to let humanity have to suffer from their old self. Instead, You gave your life in order to give me a new life. Help me to step into this new life more and more by being with You. You have freed me from who I used to be, and You are worthy to be praised because of it. Let others see the new life I have in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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