You know why most people struggle the way they do in a particular area or certain areas? They haven’t put away their old garbage, no matter how much they would like to admit they have. Meaning…. their old stuff… old ways of thinking… old life. They haven’t really been delivered from what they used to struggle with and who they used to be. Because when presented with the opportunity, they fall right back into what they so called was ‘delivered’ from.
Ephesians 4: 20-24 says plainly “…throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life… instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature…” (NLT)
Throw away your old nature. Throw away your old thoughts. Throw away your old attitudes. Throw away your former life.
I spoke with a co-worker some time ago. During the casual conversation, she spoke about how she didn’t realize that she was still holding on to an ‘old friend’ until she removed 1 item that was left in her apartment by him. She said she realized that the old thing being there really had a major imprint on her finally letting go. And it’s that simple really. That small thing, something so simple, is what she had to let go. Now most people will be like yeah right but don’t knock it until you try it! How free we can really feel when we finally delete a number? Throw away that teddy bear? Trash that ash tray? Or better yet, what about those old CD’s of worldly music?
True story — I stopped listening to hip hop and rap music. (Yes, I even stopped listening to Beyonce!) My pastor always says, what goes in you, will grow in you (and if you don’t capture it) will come out of you. So I stopped listening to my favorite local radio stations in the mornings on the way to work, stopped downloading music to my phone that was promoting things that the Word speaks against. I stopped it all. I even stopped looking at reality shows. And I can tell a major difference in my life. My thoughts are pure now. I don’t think about negative things. I don’t have as quick of an attitude as I did before. I speak more graciously. I love more genuinely. My discernment has kicked in. Most importantly, I can hear the Holy Spirit talking to me! I used to think, these small things don’t jeopardize my salvation, but it does. It impairs the way you think and handle situations.
The Bible doesn’t lie; you really have to let go of your old mentality, old things you used to do, people you used to kick it with to put on the ‘new man’ Ephesians talks about. Personally, this is very important to me. I took a vow of celibacy as my first step putting on my new man. Not only to honor God with my body, but to cleanse myself in preparation for my husband. Should I have not cleansed my mind and the way I think, I would think that the only way to show how much I care about someone is to have sex with them. But this way of thinking is all wrong. Showing love to someone is showing them patience. Showing kindness. Being trusting. Being selfless. Doesn’t lie. Isn’t angry. This is how the Bible, the truth, says how you truly show love to someone.
The struggle is real. Every day there are challenges and situations that will challenge you to go back to your old way of thinking. Your old way of living. Your old mindset. But choosing Him is a very conscious decision we must make if we say we want to change. What will you do in that moment? That moment when you said you were delivered but a blunt was offered to you? Or you began to get in a heated moment with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Or when your friends call you bringing up drama? Or when someone calls you out of your name? What will you do? Normally the easiest route to take is the route we should not take. Yeah, it’s easy to react and cuss someone out, but what’s hard is to keep your mouth shut and keep it moving. You have to think about small details that make up the bigger picture. These, too, are the decisions that challenge your new versus your old way of thinking.
Plainly put, 2 Corinthians 5:17 say “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” If you haven’t put away your old life, you are not a new creation.