01 Mar Putting off the old me
After church, I met for lunch with a dear brother. It was really encouraging talking with him. He reminded me about Colossians 3:
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
And it’s so true. When I think about our dating relationship, I’d always used to say that my wife led me to Christ. But in reflection that is not entirely true. She gave me a choice, “You can have all that filth, or you can have me.” And for a young man, steeped in sin, that idea really motivated me for change. But it was not real change. Instead, I made her my focus. God didn’t really come into it. “Having me” was not the same as “Having God.” So although I cleaned up my life, it had nothing to do with a Spirit-filled change. Therefore the growth (if any) was stunted by a continuation of my self-gratification. The root problems weren’t dealt with. And therefore this poison crept into my marriage.
If Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all
I have not been putting off the old man. Instead I’ve been casually allowing sin to enter in, with no struggle, resistance or fight. I’ve learned that the Christian walk with God is about three things:
- a clear conscience before God,
- daily killing sin
- cultivation of spiritual fruit.
I had neither of these. No wonder my wife has found the past few years of marriage a struggle. And that makes it hard now for her to see any fruit as I’ve not been in touch with her.
But what is more remarkable is the change that God has done in my life. It’s unexplainable. And it gives me great peace to know that.
Read the following from Reconciliation (Valley of Vision):
“You have taught me the necessity of a mediator, a messiah to be embraced in love with all my heart, as king to rule me, as prophet to guide me, as priest to take away my sin & death.
And this by faith in Your beloved Son who teaches me not to guide myself, not to obey myself not to try to rule and commit sin, but to cleave to the one who will do all for me.
You have made known to me that to save me is Christ’s work, but to cleave to him is by my daily repentance as a mourning for the sin which Christ by grace has removed. Help me to make use of His work of salvation as the ground of peace, and of your favour to accept me the sinner so that I may live always near the cross.“