Friday, May 30, 2008

Ephesians 4:17-24

"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

"You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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." NIV

I was reading excerpts from C.S Lewis' book, Mere Christianity, this morning. In it he talks about the "ordinary self." This is the self that has desires, but also recognizes morality and ethics. To resolve this inner battle, we determine how much we are willing to give up of our ordinary self and its desires so we can be "good." That is nothing like what Jesus taught! As Lewis puts it, "Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked -- the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'"

This is exactly what Paul is talking about here. We must completely take off the old self and put on the new self. It's not easy, but it is the better way. One of our pastors at our church gave the illustration this last weekend of his car acting up to the point that he had to jump start it every time he wanted to go anywhere. He would literally park it on an incline so he'd be able to jump start it the next time he was using it. This went on for months. He kept putting off going to a mechanic or figuring out the problem himself. Finally, a friend helped him remove the starter which was the whole problem. Here Pastor Ryan was, standing holding this small hunk of metal, that if he had taken the time to remove and replace it, he would have saved himself a whole lot of trouble and time. In a simplistic form, that is putting off the old self. It takes time; it may be hard and painful, but in the end, it is the easier and better route to go. You save yourself so much heartache by just surrendering it all to Him. We no longer have to live in ignorance, Christ will give us a new way of thinking, new eyes to see with, and a new desire for living -- living His way. Are you tired of jump starting? There is a much better way. Get rid of the old self and surrender to the new life and its desires. Our Lord is waiting patiently.

Further Thoughts:

  1. What is the correlation between Christ being not just our Savior, but also our Lord and the idea of putting off the old self for the new? (Hint: What is our motivation to live a life of holiness and who's in charge?)
  2. Are you letting sin reign in your life? Read Romans 6:1-14.
  3. Surrender! Let God have it all. It's time.

1 comment:

  1. MMmm....loved your illustrations with CS Lewis and Ryan! It really made your point.
    Keep writing, friend! It's your gift! :-)