January 14th

Killing the Old Self 

5So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). 6It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), 8But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! 9Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, 10And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.  Colossians 3:5-6,8-10 AMP 

As Christians our “old self” (evil desire lurking in our members) is buried in baptism, and God resurrects us to live in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4).    This newness of life is exponentially better than life in our old sinful habits.  Yet too many of us fail to experience the new life Jesus bought for us. We find that our old ways are easy to fall back into, and our newness of life seems to be choked out by our old self.   We’re saved, yet settle for “carnal Christianity,” which makes it hard to distinguish our lives from those of the world.  We shouldn’t be surprised when people ask us, “Why do I need Jesus?  You call yourself a Christian, but your life is no different from mine!”  Ouch! 

God didn’t intend for us to live that way.  Living a transformed life IS possible and we CAN become like Jesus.  The newness of life starts with killing the old self, repeatedly and faithfully.   We don’t have to gut this out on our own.  God, in his wonderful grace, promises to help us do this through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11,13).   He won’t do it for us, but he will join us when we step out in obedience. 

There are many actions we can take to kill the old self and put on the new self.   Here are some suggestions: Ask God for help and strength to make the right choices.

·        Ask God for help and strength to make the right choices.

·        Surrender and commit your body to God daily, not allowing sin to master you. (1 Corinthians 6:12, Galatians 2:20, 5:24).

·        Arm yourself with the truth from the Word to help you discern sin’s lies.   Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in richness”  (Amplified).   The Word re-tunes our sensitivity to right and wrong, and revitalizes our spirit.  When it permeates our thoughts, the subtle moves of the old self are brought to light.

·        Stop responding to lustful impulses.  If lust prompts you to do something, don’t do it!

·        Make no provision for lust (Romans 13:14, Galatians 5:13).   Sin is conceived through a provision.  If there is no provision, then sin will not occur.

·        Flee temptations.   Don’t stick around to see if you’re strong enough to resist.  The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak (Genesis 39:7-12, 2 Timothy 2:22)

Set your mind on heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-4).  When we are able to force our minds off the carnal topics and on to Jesus Christ, we starve the old self of the evil thoughts it needs to revive.  Heavenly thoughts keep the old self in the grave. 

These skills will take time to master.  We may stumble as we practice them, but if we keep getting back up faithfully, we will have victory!  We can remember that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  The light of Christ’s love will begin to shine brighter and brighter through us to those around us as we put the old self to death.  We’ll begin to experience the riches of the new life in Jesus, and we’ll no longer want to go back to our old ways. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for my sin. Thank you for purchasing my freedom from the law of sin and death.  I desire to live for you.  Please forgive me for practicing sin and hindering the renewal work of the Holy Spirit and the Word in me.  I present my body, soul and spirit to you as instruments for righteousness and not for evil.  Please help me to die to the old self daily and to put on the new self.  Thank you, Jesus!  In your holy name I pray, Amen.”