“. . . that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24
You may be standing at the beginning of a new year, glancing back and looking ahead, wishing for something better. It has been said that a definition of insanity is continuing to do something in the same way, though it has never been successful before. Notwithstanding the element of truth this humorous maxim has in it, it takes courage to give up comfortable patterns of thinking and living. But, as in construction, land has to be cleared before a new building can be erected.
Paul warns the Ephesian followers of Christ not to be satisfied with the old ways, but to put them off, like one doffs old clothes. Similarly, Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Before the New Birth, we had no choice but to live aimless, foolish, hurtful, wasted lives. But now we have a choice, the choice to obediently put on the new self, which is said to have been created perfectly and beautifully, like God Himself. This metamorphosis is something that we cannot do in our own strength. (We have tried that, and it has always failed.) But we can put on what He has already created for us. He has wrapped me in a robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10
Paul talks about this new life as though it is a sure thing, “a done deal.” An experienced architect can confidently “see” a building he has designed as though it already exists, lacking only the execution of the construction workers. God the Father has already created the good works He intends us to live out, as His masterpiece of new birth. (Ephesians 2:10) All that is lacking is for us to believe Him, trust Him, put on His new clothes, custom made for us, and walk about in them, watching Him live out His life through us. (Galatians 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.