Put Off And Put On
A daily devotion for March 19th
22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
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... (Ephesians 4:22-24a)
Putting off the old and putting on the new is the principle by which the possibilities that are in Christ can become evident in our experience. Notice there is a recognition of the pull of the old life on the Christian. The admonition of the apostle is to be constantly recognizing and rejecting these false, underlying assumptions that come from the old self, the old way of living. It is not merely deeds, you will notice, but outlooks and attitudes. This is what causes the problem, and this is what we must reject.
Put off means to divest yourself of something, to take it off. Paul is using the simplest of terms to illustrate what we must do in the realm of thought, of the attitudes of life. We must reject those basic assumptions that have caused our trouble—putting them off, rejecting them, divesting ourselves of them—just as you would put off your dirty clothes.
We must do this because the corruption of life comes from these wrong attitudes. Paul says the former manner of life is corrupt—decayed, dead, foul, selfish, unhappy, restless. These are the things that have made life unhappy or miserable. He points out we can recognize these attitudes by the way they operate. They are
deceitful lusts. Unfortunately, this word lust is greatly misunderstood in our day. We invariably associate it with something sexual. But this word is much broader than that. It means any urge or basic drive. We will get closer to the essential meaning of this word if we use the term urge. These deceitful urges are constantly coming to us as we react to various situations in which we find ourselves.
The first step in experiencing what God intends for us is to recognize that. Put off the old. That is the first step. The other is to recognize the wonderful possibilities of the new life. In that phrase,
to be made new in the attitude of your minds, you have the fundamental difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. It is true that non-Christians sometimes realize that things are wrong in their lives, and so they change them. But they merely change to another expression of the same basic egocentricity. They change the outer form, but the problem remains basically the same.
But of all human beings, Christians alone have the possibility of doing something entirely different, living by an entirely different principle, because they have been renewed in the attitude of their minds. And that happens in the regenerated life as the Spirit of God comes into the heart that believes in Jesus Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are renewed in the attitudes of our minds. The new self is in the likeness of God: it is the life of God; it is the image of Jesus Christ; it is His life lived in you. So put on that kind of life, because it is available to you.
Father, help me to understand and put into practice this great principle of putting off the old self and putting on the new.
Life Application: Deceitful lusts fool us, because we think they will make us happy. Are there things we still do because we have not renewed our minds in the Truth that dwells in us?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.