Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Daily - 7/8/06

Ephesians 4:17-24

17 So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;

18 darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart,

19 they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.

20 That is not how you learned Christ,

21 assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus,

22 that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,

23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

24 and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

I probably sound like a broken record on this, but I was 32 years old before I really understood this message, and for the past 7 years I’ve gone through spurts of trying to put this into practice. It is indeed difficult to divorce yourself from the "old self" – ie, the one consumed with worldly things – jobs, responsibilities, professional and personal goals, hopes, dreams, fears, whatever. The "old self" is defined by these things, and is very easily consumed by them.

The "new self" puts God and his will in front of all those things. This can be a scary proposition. I’ve spent a lot of time tripping over that step, holding myself back out of fear that my life will change so severely that I won’t be able to handle it. The worldly things were too dear, and I didn’t want to give them up. The "old self" didn’t want to be put away.

It’s only relatively recently that I’ve finally stood up and told God that I’m not afraid, and that I’m ready to do whatever he needs me to do, and have truly tried to put him first. You know what? He didn’t take my stuff away. I still live in the same house, drive the same car, and have the same job. And yet I feel like I’m starting to put it all in perspective.

In Matthew 6 we are told:

30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'

32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be
given you besides.

34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

I can testify that this is in fact true. My life is far more peaceful than it used to be. What used to be a crisis is now not such a big deal. Faith grows through experience, and the more faith I’ve put in God, the more strength he has given me, and the more rewards he has given me. One of those rewards has been to write these daily messages. It has allowed me to put together a personal study of God’s word, and to take the time to write what I’ve learned down and try to string it together in some kind of cohesive thought.