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 usually start my day by praying for God to empty me of my ways and to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Inevitably though, before much of my day has passed, I find myself responding in ways that look more Spiritless than Spirit-filled. So what’s wrong? Why isn’t God answering my prayer? And how much worse might I be if I wasn’t praying this? After searching the Scriptures, I realized that I was asking God to empty me when His Word seems to teach that it’s the believer’s responsibility to do the emptying. The Message translation of Colossians 3:9 describes putting off your old self as “a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire.” The Greek word used here for putting off means to divest (strip, free or rid) wholly one-self. This describes a very thorough and complete action, however, I have not been so thorough as some of my ill-fitting clothes are still hanging around. But as I study God’s Word, I am learning which clothing I need to burn and which clothing is fitting for my Christian life.
The Bible teaches that it is also the believer’s responsibility to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “…renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.” It’s interesting that the Greek word for renew means to renovate which Merriam-Webster defines as restoring to a former, better state. Our new clothing is made up of the threads and fabric of God’s Word which has been here from the beginning (John 1:1), and it works to restore us to how we were created, in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This renewing takes place in our minds, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2); it is a process, “…we are being renewed day by day…” (2 Corinthians 4:16); and it will not be complete until we see Jesus again when “…we shall be like Him…” (1John 3:2), and our clothing will be fit for The King. In the meantime, continue to burn your old clothes, and instead, “…clothe yourselves with Jesus Christ…” (Romans 13:14).
What is Jesus asking you to put off?
From what source are you learning your Christian “style”?