Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Laying Aside the Old Self: Running with the New Self

Strip off your old self, which follows your former ways of living and ruins you as it follows the desires that deceive you. Become new in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, which is created to be like God, righteous and holy in the truth. Ephesians 4:22-24, MLB

I wanted to say, "Hey, I already thought of that!" but in my spirit, I knew that would be self-promotion, and I no longer live for myself. So I bit my tongue~again.

Why? Why do I still struggle with such selfish thoughts and desires?

I understood what Paul meant when he said, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24,25 NASB This our daily reality. To "strip off the old self and put on the new self"

The old self is the selfish self. The new creation bows to God in reverence and submission. When we become spiritually born (born again) we no longer succumb to our sinful self. We have a new heart, and a new life. But we still have to contend with the old self. It doesn't die when we become born again. We have to choose to crucify it daily.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

See? There it is...take up your cross. We have to crucify our old natural inclinations to focus on, to promote, or please ourself. Our new goal or focus it to promote and please God.

Our natural inclination in viewing ourselves tends to lean toward pride and arrogance such as Peter displayed when he told Jesus, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." Or we lean toward inferiority such as Moses did when he said, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent...I am slow in speech and tongue...please send someone else to do it." In either case, the focus is on "I" and not God.

Our new life in Christ enables us to be balanced with humility and confidence. However this doesn't just happen overnight. It is something we have to walk out and attend to, as we trust and obey the Lord. This does mean we keep our eyes/thoughts fixed on Him.

Freedom comes from being content with who God made us to be. Knowing how cherished we are, we can rest in His love for us. Ephesians 1:3-14 talks about our identity. We are truly blessed, chosen, predestined, included, adopted, marked with the Holy Spirit, forgiven, redeemed, and have been given revelation knowledge of God's will. In Him, we are His Beloved!

"He made you and therefore understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it." Hannah Whitall Smith


Rachel B said...

What a great post, Kathy! Thank you so much for sharing.

A Stone Gatherer said...

Great post Kathy! I have to admit I struggle with this. I feel like I constantly need that affirmation! I need to be acknowledged. I think it has to do with something growing up (isn't that how it always is). I need to give this over to God and remind myself constantly that I am a new creations, all the former things are gone and the new things are here!

Kathryn said...

Kathy, you wrote: We have to choose to crucify it daily.Amen! As a Christian, Jesus Christ is my Savior ... and my Lord. Choosing Him as my Savior was a one-time decision. Choosing Him as my Lord happens daily. More than that, surrendering to Jesus as Lord is a continual choice, made purposefully and deliberately, over and over again.

Everytime I choose to pray instead of watching television, "I" die. Everytime I read my Bible instead of reading the newspaper, "I" perish. Everytime I follow His leading instead of my own good idea, "I" disappear.

Recently, my pastor gave a wonderful message about crucifying ourselves in Christ. His resounding question throughout was, "Are you dead yet?" with the emphasis on "you": "Are you dead yet?"

Am I? Am I really dead yet? I'm pretty well extinguished, but there is a pesky little fleshly part of me that keeps gasping for air. The disciples "left everything" (reference Luke 5:11) to follow Jesus. In my rebelliousness, to what earthly thing am I still clinging? What have I not fully surrendered? What do I continue to resuscitate? Can I truly claim that "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me ..." (Galatians 2:20)?The Lord encourages me through His Word that I have not only been crucified in Christ but also raised with Him! "Since ... you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, appears,
then you also will appear with Him in glory."
(Colossians 3:1-4)

May your Mother's Day be richly blessed! :-)

Kristi said...

This was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing from your incredible heart. Blessings to you!

Edie said...

This is a struggle for me. It's funny because the *big* stuff has changed (been put away). So it makes it seem like the *little* stuff isn't such a bad thing sometimes. I know better. Working on my *stuff* a lot lately.