February 3, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"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." Ephesians 4:22-24
You can gauge the depth of a Christian's spiritual life by the things he puts first. Tell me his priorities and you tell me the focus of his life and his relationship with the Lord. Matthew said, "Wherefore by their fruits you will know them."
The voice from the world says, "Don't tell me how spiritual you are; show me by the way you live. Don't tell me how much you pray, show me the effect of prayer by the power of God being manifested in your daily walk. Don't tell me how much you read the Bible, show me how you have applied it by a righteous life and holy living. Don't tell me how much you love the Lord; show me how His love abounds in your life unto others. Don't tell me you are a Christian; show me the evidence through your godly character and committed life to Christ."
They have had their full, and more, of superficial, shallow, uncommitted, ineffective religious professions. They are looking for and are influenced by a Christian whose life reveals a personal relationship with Christ and manifests the fruit of the Spirit. And what is the fruit of the Spirit? It is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance" (Galatians 5:22). Can these virtues be evidenced in our lives by our doing? Absolutely not! This "fruit" is initiated and manifested by the power of God living within the believer. It is the manifestation of His indwelling Spirit in our lives. It's the result of being made a new creation in Christ, but there's more! Paul says, "Put off the old man and make no provision for the flesh; put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
The "old man" is what we are by birth, by nature, through inheritance, and by our actions. We are fallen, depraved, corrupt, sinful, and with a bias against God for evil. Our habits, associations, worldly interests, lifestyle, and our whole concept of life and God are from a "fallen nature."
Therefore, Paul says, "Put off the old man." These things are incompatible with the "new man." Get rid of them! WHY? Because they belong to the sinful life of our past, the way we once lived.
What a radical difference in the way we were and the way God wants us to be! Paul knows what can happen when we "put off the old man and put on the new man." He's been there, done that, and his life was transformed from a persecutor of the Christians to an apostle of Christ. He went from one end of the spectrum to the other. BUT SO CAN WE! When we yield the control of our lives to His lordship, He clothes us with His righteousness and holiness! This is not our doing; IT IS GOD'S!
Let us adorn our lives with the fruit of the Spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit, being renewed daily in the spirit of our minds, and strengthened with His might by the Spirit in the inner man, that we may magnify Christ and impact lives for eternity. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=
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