Putting On Our New Self - Ephesians 4:17-24

Putting On Our New Self

Growing up, my brothers and I would go backpacking with my dad. We would do a several-night trip and make a 40-50 mile loop, hiking from lake to lake. This was usually in the summer when the weather was nice, but it was also dry. The trails we hiked on we dusty and muddy, so our clothes got incredibly dirty, and at the end of the trip, all my outfits smelled. I could try to cover it up with deodorant, but it didn’t hide all the stains and grime on the clothes. 

When we got back home and shed those dirty clothes, what a feeling it was to put new clean clothes on, they weren’t stiff and smelly but were refreshing after a shower. The clothes usually smelled so bad that my mom would make us throw them straight into the washer. After I showered, I did not try to put back on the socks I was using or the shirt I was wearing. I put on new clean clothes and felt like a new person. 

Although very simplified, we are called to do this in Christ as well. We have been washed and provided with a new self and a new purpose in Christ. 

Ephesians 4:17-24
17 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. 18 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. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Now that we are equipped and unified in Christ, we are to no longer walk in our old ways. Additionally, God has sanctified us and set us apart (hagiazo) from sin. This also means that we are to no longer walk like those who sin. As Christians, we are to walk according to Christ and not try to fit in with the crowd around us. God calls us to be different from the world.
Additionally, we have the understanding now, so our minds are to be set apart as well and our thinking should also be different than the world around us. Sin blinds us and clouds the understanding we gain in God. Sin separates us and prevents us from having a personal relationship with Christ. Now that we are the body of Christ and God is to dwell in our hearts, let us prepare ourselves and our hearts to be the vessel that God needs us to be. 

Sin hardens us and makes us callused or apathetic to God’s will and grace, but we now have the understanding in Christ, and we are to put on our new self that is softer and receptive to God’s will. God has taught us through apostles, prophets, shepherds, and teachers. He uses people in our lives, and He uses us to fulfill His will and build His ministry in the body of Christ. Our old desires should be cast aside. In fact, now that we are living in Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit, the desires of our lives will likely be the desires God wants for our lives. The more we live in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, the more our lives align with God’s will. Sin deceives us, but we know the truth, and we know that God is gracious toward us. That doesn’t give us the authority to go out and sin with the thinking that God will just forgive us, which He will. But the understanding of Christ calls us to be a witness of Him in our daily lives. Yes, we will stumble at times, and God is there to pick us up and strengthen us, but we should strive to live above reproach in the ‘likeness’ of God. Put on our new self that has been cleansed and made with righteousness and holiness because of God. 

God equips us with the gifts to fulfill the ministry according to His will. But, this takes that conscious decision on our part to change and no longer walk in the ways of sin. Tear down the facade in our lives and be truthful and humble toward God. What manner of sin are you still holding onto in your lives that may hinder your personal relationship with Christ? Are you still trying to fit in with the world around you, knowing that you are set apart by God and called to walk in HIM?
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