One Direction – Week of August 16, 2021
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, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
When I was little, I had a pop-up book of the story of “Dr. Doolittle.” One of the pages inside featured a moving “push me pull you” llama, a creature with two heads, that could go in either direction by pulling a little tab.
God’s words through Paul in our verses today reminded me of that llama picture. Doesn’t that picture sum up the life of a Christian well? We know who we are through Jesus; as we read the Bible, we know more and more the ways in which we can show Christ’s love to others, yet our hearts remain just like that llama, with impulses pulling us in two different directions, the old and new self, at all times!
We read about love being patient and kind and long to emulate that, but an hour into our day a parent makes a comment and our blood boils! We know that discontent has no place in our hearts, but at naptime, we strike up the old conversation about how our director or our school board doesn’t really care about us and doesn’t understand what it’s like to be on the front lines of the work we’re doing. This can happen so easily and so regularly that we fail to even recognize it! God is clear; these corrupt words, actions, and attitudes have no place in our hearts. Quite likely after the fact, we are washed once again in a torrent of guilt. What can we do?
Instead of asking, “What can we do?” we turn instead to God’s Word and recount the story of what Jesus did, for us. When we were unable to put off our old selves, filled with all manner of vileness, wickedness, and sin, God took those old selves and placed them squarely on the back of his one and only Son. Jesus bore the agony of wearing the sins of the entire world! Then, God took his Son’s “true righteousness and holiness” and gave that to us, not to just show up every once in a while, but to be the very essence of who we now are as forgiven sinners.
Thanks be to God! By ourselves, we have no power to put off whatever corrupt desire our heart is taunting us with this day, but in Jesus, we cling to the knowledge that we are righteous and holy. With the Spirit’s help, we strive to live as our new selves as we interact with all those around us, pulled not in two directions, but headed, for Jesus’ sake, in the one direction of heaven.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, forgive us for the many times our thoughts, words, and actions have aligned with our former way of life, with our old selves, instead of with the new self you created in us. Be with us as we fight this battle each and every day. Comfort us with your forgiveness when we fail, and drive us ever more with your promises to live as the new selves we actually are, through you. In your name we pray this. Amen.
A Question to Consider: Think privately about one “old self” sin that continues to rear its head in your life. What are some Scripture passages you can remember to encourage you in your walk of faith each day and to comfort your heart when you fail?