It’s a Part of Me
Put off your old self . . . and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
When we bought our home, almost 10 years ago, there was a coil of trimming line hung on one of the broken-off branches of a tree in the yard. I meant to get rid of it, but I always just thought I’d do it tomorrow. A few tomorrows turned into 10 years and now, the tree has grown around that coil. If I really want it gone, I’m going to have to cut into the tree, damaging it, just to remove the line. I should have done it long ago, but I didn’t and now it’s part of the tree.
I’ve got things like that in my life. I’ve got self-destructive thoughts, appetites, and behaviors that I should have addressed years ago, when it may have been easier. I tolerated them though and now they’ve become part of me. To think or behave differently would be traumatic. To experience the life I was made for though, those things need to go, which is painful because they’ve become part of me.
This is the process of which Paul spoke in today’s passage. In it, he talked about the transition from the old life to the new life as if it were the changing of clothes. He said the old corrupt, deceitful desires must be taken off so that we may put on righteousness and holiness. This process is anything but passive. Just as our literal clothes don’t change themselves, we must daily choose to put off the old, self-destructive ways to put on the new life.
The problem is that we’ve worn those old, dirty clothes so long that they’ve become part of us. To take them off is to amputate part of ourselves, which is always painful. What does this process entail? I can’t tell you specifically what it will look like for you, but I know you must go to God, daily asking him what he wants you to take off and put on. You must be willing to do what it takes to cut those self-destructive ways out of your life and then you must replace them with God’s will.
Some things must go all at once. If we’re struggling with drugs or an affair, we cannot slowly remove those things from our lives. They must go immediately and painfully. Other things, God will work on over time. Whatever it is we’re struggling with, we must daily go to the father, asking what it is that we must take off and put on. Then, we must do it. This is how we experience the new life.