PJ’s Daily Devotional for Saturday, February 18, 2017.
Have you ever seen a house roof where they just kept putting on new roofing shingles without taking off the old shingles? In some cases that may be fine for a second layer of shingles, but the more you add layers of new over old, you start having major problems. Simply stated, the shingles are designed to be laid on a flat surface and not over the layering and warping of the old. So, when you try to put on the new without putting off the old, you are going against the manufacture’s design and results may vary from product promises.
It is the same in the new life of Christ: the new life in Christ is not a calling to put a new layer over an old layer. As you understand God’s Word you will see that the putting on of the new life is only effective when the old layer is put off. So, in the same way, when you try to put on the new without putting off the old, you are going against the Creator’s design and results of the new life may vary from the promised results you hoped for.
Listen to Paul teach about putting off: “In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:8-10).
Paul then continues by teaching about putting on: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).
So, here is the problem in most of our personal lives and in our churches: we are trying to put new shingles (new spiritual ways of thinking, behaving, and relating) over old warped ones (old fleshly and worldly ways) and the new shingles won’t sit right and stay in place when the storms of life come. At worst, the new shingles blow off in storms and at best, they allow leaking. Either way, we become disappointed that our Christianity doesn’t seem to pass the test of real life!
Are you leaking fleshly pride, lust, jealousy, anger, obscene talk when you are under stress?
Does it feel like at times that any feeling or appearance of being a Christian is impossible?
Here is the solution to a leaky, undependable Christianity: partner with the Holy Spirit to take off the old and put on the new!
You may ask: I am tired of being a leaky Christian, can you teach me how to live according to the promises of God so that my faith holds up in the storms of life and passes the test of real world life?
Here’s a quick “1-2-3 GO WITH GRACE!” to get you started:
- INVITE THE HOLY SPIRIT! Recognize you can’t do it on your own so invite the Holy Spirit to be your general contractor (God is in charge of the process of construction and He is the senior partner, but that doesn’t mean you are not working hard alongside of Him as a partner in the putting off/putting on transformation process!).
- GET INTO GOD’S WORD! It is through the TRUTH of the Bible that the Spirit will transform you, ensuring the old is taken off and the new is put on to the Creator’s design and intent. The Holy Spirit activates the TRUTH of God in you, but you must do the hard work of changing your mind—put off lies and put on truth!
- MAKE A COMMITMENT! This is not passive work! It is the proactive intentional partnerships with the Holy Spirit and with other committed Christians (we are called to be committed and submitted members of the church). There are many off ramps to the journey of being transformed by the renewal of your mind so we need encouragement and accountability along the way.
As you do this “1-2-3-GO WITH GRACE!” let me just tell you honestly and soberly: this is not easy and will come with challenges. That is why you need the grace of community around you to hold you to your commitment and this is why you need the grace of God to be your senior partner in the journey.
Are you ready to take the next step in your spiritual journey?