Friday, 3 June 2022

The New Man

 Scripture:  Ephesians 4 v 21 - 24: " If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

When we first become born again as commanded by Jesus in John 3 v 3, we feel so good and clean and fresh that its seems as though we have now reached perfection.

We have a great zeal for God and the blessings are abundant.  However, this euphoria wears off and although our "old man" or fallen, sinful nature, dies in the waters of baptism, he is capable of being resurrected, in part or even completely, by our own free will.

The Word says put off the old man.  It's an action like removing a coat.  It's a discipline we must learn until all links to that old garment have been severed.  It cannot be successfully dragged behind us while we enter our new life.  It must be discarded so we can put on our new man.

We will be exchanging our tatty old coat for the pure garment of righteousness.  The Word says we must put on the new man.  We need to read the Bible daily because in its chapters we see ourselves reflected.

As we read it, the Holy Spirit shows us what is hindering us today from entering into righteous living.  We cannot have one foot in the world and the other on the path to Heaven.  The worldly foot will be a burden to progress.

The more we let go of the old man and his ways, the more we put on of the new man.  It's a process of refinement.  The new man is open to learn and grow in this wonderful, clean life, which the old man will argue against very eloquently, thereby bringing confusion.  We have to put him and his tiresome speeches off.

When we read the Bible we are sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning about Him, becoming like Him.  That is our goal in this Christian life, we must be like Jesus.  We must do what He did, and He said we can do greater things than He did.

The only thing stopping us from doing what Jesus did is scepticism and unbelief.  The early church had the Apostles who lived and walked with Jesus on Earth  knew what He could do and many Christians were raised up to know that kind of Faith.  It was easy to put off the old man and put on the new.

They did not have the distractions of the modern world either.  They had no TV, Video games, sports, Cellphones, cars, trains, planes and industrial revolutions, or luxury yachts to occupy their time.  So to walk in the steps of Jesus was much easier.

We need to discipline ourselves and not neglect to spend quality time in the presence of Jesus.  Not just church on Sundays but everyday.  Take a leaf out of the early church and turn off all distractions for an hour or more.  The Lord will not fail to notice our commitment and He will bless the time we give Him.

The Apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament epistles when he was imprisoned in Rome.  The Lord allowed Paul to be in that situation to do precisely that because throughout the ages we would need those books of the Bible to find out what the new man is all about.

We are all different and need attitude adjustments, anger management, baggage to declare and bitter memories to work through.  It's not easy, but as I heard a minister of God say yesterday:-
I prayed for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I prayed for courage and found myself put in dangerous places.
I prayed for love and I was given troubled people to help.
I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
God answered all my prayers.

This man was in a place of training.  James put it like this.  James 1 v 2 - 4: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Many people pray to have more patience, and God answers them with trials and temptations.  Having to endure these will necessitate getting closer to Jesus and His nature of love, peace, joy and patience will grow within us.  That's putting on the new man for sure.

I have a dear friend who spends much of her summer tending her very large property, planting trees and mowing acres of grass.  She pulls out roots and weeds and things that don't belong.  She has learned that she can use the time to spiritually pray for the roots of problems, the weeds of sins, the alien spirits while she physically removes it from her garden.  Our God meets her on her mower and an onerous task is now a way of communicating with the Father and doing His will.  She is a living parable.  A great example of new man growth.

We can't all mow or pull roots but we can adapt our own onerous tasks in a way to fulfil the will of God.  We can view them as new man training grounds and reap the many benefits and blessings of obedience.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, Thank You for freely giving us everything we need to put on the new man so we can walk in the steps of Jesus and mature into vessels the Master can use.  Help us to be innovative and wise to apply the challenges we face as training and not traps.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.