Ephesians 4:20-24 – “But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” NKJV
Forget the political condition of our nation and world. Forget the economic predictions for the coming year or years. Forget the threat of terrorism and the evil that is rampant in the world. Forget? Of course you cannot forget them or ignore them but what I desire to challenge you to do is CONSIDER something more powerful than any of those.
Consider “Christ in us…” That’s right, consider the working of the Holy Spirit in and through us as born-again believers and members in particular of the Body of Christ. The devil would have us scurry around in FEAR but God would have us CONSIDER who and whose we are. The challenge of the apostle Paul in our text is recognition and action on the part of every child of God.
As 2016 unfolds before us we can either move forward in God taking an offensive mindset or run for cover and adopt a defensive position. Let’s consider some things of significant value for each of us as we embark on the journey of life through the year 2016.
- PUT OFF.
Not as in procrastinate but as in reject, eliminate or remove. What are we to “put off?” Our former conduct, the “old man” or “carnal man” that was laden with corruption, filled with lust and ensnared by sin. We must make a definitive conscious decision to reject the works of the flesh and the lusts thereof.
The Lord Jesus has brought us Grace and Forgiveness of Sin and that is a work of God and Grace. We can never earn our salvation but there are some things we are expected to do once we have entered into the Family and Kingdom. There is discipline required on our part and that is what the apostle addresses in his call to PUT OFF.
- PUT ON.
Not as in pretend but as in adorn ourselves. In putting on the NEW MAN we will find there is a renewing of the “spirit of our minds” and we move deeper and deeper into the righteousness and holiness of God. Having accepted Jesus as our Savior, repented of our sin and turned 180 degrees from the old path we now need to CONTINUE. We need to cooperate with the Spirit of God in addressing our thoughts, words and deeds. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to manifest Jesus through our lives and in PUTTING ON the New Man we experience continual renewal.
Are you ready for the New Year? You can make all the resolutions you desire but UNLESS you PUT OFF and PUT ON as described in this passage you will find disappointment and failure in 2016. God wants to use each of us more powerfully and consistently than our history reflects. The problem is not in His willingness to use us but our availability that results from PUTTING OFF the former conduct and PUTTING ON the new man.
God bless you as you embark on the exciting journey that is ahead in 2016.