January 24, 2015

A New Self

Ephesians 4:17-32

You were taught . . . to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self. . .

—  Ephesians 4:22-24

In a new year, many people resolve to live differently. We promise to lose weight, find a new job, quit smoking, care better for our husband or wife, or change in some other way.

But then the cold reality hits: change is not easy. After a few weeks (or days) into a new year, old and destructive habits return.

Our change to new life in Christ is much different. It doesn't depend on our willpower. God does not just forgive our sins and then say, "Now try hard to do things differently." In Christ, God makes us into new people.

"Be made new," the apostle instructs. It's an odd command, if we stop to think about it. We are told to do something that happens to us, something we don't have the power to do.

The Bible is telling us something important here. We can see changes in our lives, but, more importantly, we learn to see God at work, the one who is making us new. It is not enough to simply watch our language, let go of our anger at a friend, work more diligently, or treat our spouse kindly. Our minds change too, as we come to know Christ better.

Living differently is not just a goal for a new year. It is God's work of making us new in Christ. Can you see his work in you?

Holy Spirit, show me my new self. Help me to see how you are making me new. Make me more like Christ in this new year. Amen.j

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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