Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Putting On the New You

"...put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:24

The new spring fashions appear in the post-Christmas catalog and I order a few things to spruce up my wardrobe. When the box arrives ten days later in early February, I can't wait to open it. What better way to warm a girl's heart in the middle of winter than opening a box of spring?

I handle each pastel piece and it feels odd - almost weightless - in my hands. After  months covered in layered wools and darker hues I'd forgotten the freedom and joy spring brings with it's thinner cottons, pastel rainbows and, oh yes, bare skin. Not much to hide under come spring. It's time to shape up and shed some of my old self.

So, I start counting calories, consciously prepare lighter, healthier meals, stay hydrated, and start walking.

As I start sculpting my new shape, God pricks my heart and asks, "What about the INSIDE?"

"What ABOUT the inside?" I ask.

God leads me to Ephesians 4 and 5 (Whew! I'm outta Jeremiah!). Here, Paul encourages us to shed our former God-less selves and put on our new God-filled selves. Just like shedding a few pounds takes a conscious decision to make healthier choices, so too with putting on our new, God-filled selves.

"You were put off your old self...; to be made new in the attitude of your minds..." Ephesians 4:22-23a

We put on our new self by reshaping our thinking to be like God's. How do we do this? Paul explains this in Ephesians 5: 15-21:
  • Live wisely - make the most of each day (vv.15-16)
  • Understand the Lord's will - seek it, find it, walk in it (v.17)
  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit - empowered, confident, bold (v. 18)
  • Encourage one another in word and song (v. 19)
  • Worship God - in song, in word, in your heart (v. 19)
  • Give thanks - to God for everything all the time (v. 20)
  • Submit to one another - not one is esteemed more than the other; honor each other's uniqueness and gifts. (v. 21)
These disciplines seem rather haughty and unreachable, don't they? Just about as unreachable as our goal weight, sometimes. And I suppose, in our own strength they are. Jesus agreed, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26).

Couple our desire to resculpt our attitudes, our minds, our bodies,  and our habits with the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus, and it's achievable. We're free and we're unstoppable! We. Are. Made. New.

Are you ready to shed the old and put on the new you? I know I am.

Father, we know all things are possible with you. Help us to renew our minds by seeking YOU first and foremost in our daily lives. Empower us with your Holy Spirit to know and live out your will for our lives; to reflect who you are and put on our new selves in Christ. Surround us with those who will encourage us and walk alongside us. Amen.

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