The New Me - Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
New Year’s is always a motivation to develop The New Me.
“If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Declarative. Promise. God-powered. We ARE new! So here’s a good question for the new year. Why don’t I always live like the NEW me? Why do I struggle with the OLD me?
Now we come to an insight of our Christian walk - God creates the new creation of my life, but I must cooperate with God if I want to live like this new creation.
Our focus verse of today:
“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.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
Let’s do a deep dive to study the teaching in this verse!
#1 - To become the new me I must become a ___________ .
“You were taught…”
To be a Christ-follower means to be a disciple. Disciple = student.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 ESV
Jesus doesn’t just teach us for the theory of it. To be a Christian doesn’t only mean to study the teachings of Christ. It means to become “like Christ.” That’s the objective. Fully trained = “will be like his teacher.”
One of those “like his teacher” Christ-like attributes is to teach others, once we are fully trained ourselves.
“You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 NCV
In whatever way we’ve been gifted and entrusted. Doesn’t have to be formal preacher or teacher. Ask myself: “Where is my influence?” Parent? Friend? Group? Become an influencer of others!
ADDITIONAL NOTE: This 1st part is critical today. People assume they know what it means to be Christian. They don’t. Even people in the church! We need serious students. We need maturity and influencers!
#2 - When I become a Christ-follower, my way of living is _________ .
“… with regard to your former way of life…”
This changed way of life is not optional. It’s not like we can accept Christ and the new creation He brings us, but then continue to live as we always have. No! Presumption built into this verse: “with regard to your FORMER way of life.” The new creation inside leads us to a new way of living on the outside. Described as “old self” & “new self”. Old/new me:
The Old Me = __________, ___________, ___________
“… your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.”
Does this describe your life now or your life before?
3 key words.
“Corrupted” = turning what God made as good in our lives into evil, obsessive, perverted, ultimately leading to our destruction.
“Deceitful” = lies, untruth. Looks good and attractive, but ultimately does not satisfy.
“Desires” = I’m translating as “cravings.” A cycle of cravings to corruption and back again into more cravings. Endless downward spiral. Addiction.
The New Me = _________, __________, _____________
“… the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Contrast the New Me: Three key words.
“Created to be like God.” Did you know that? Adam and Eve’s original sin was built upon the wrong way of becoming what God intended for them anyway! Description?
“In true righteousness”= authentic right living. Living the way God intended us to live. How He teaches us in His Word. That’s what authentic means. Not what seems right to us, but what IS right to God.
“holiness” = set aside and useful. That’s what holy means. To live in such a state that God can use me (you) for His purposes. For eternity!
Our natural inclinations are always corrupted and temporal:
“The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:17 MSG
This is why we look upon our daily actions, our lifestyle, our “way of life” and evaluate it on this basis. Because it is the outward indicator of the inward change. We are not always perfect. But we ask ourselves - what is our trend? Do we see the change in ourselves because of this new creation given by God Himself?
How do I go about this? How do I cooperate? What’s my job in this?
#3 - Every day I must do both:
__________ the old me AND ___________ the new me .
“… to put off your old self, … and to put on the new self.”
The Bible literally describes this like changing clothing. Like dressing. Each day I must consciously decide to put off the old, take off the old, stop living the old lifestyle, and to put on, dress up in the new me. How do I realistically do this? It takes conscious thought and self-evaluation.
Colossians 3 is the supporting passage: How do we take off?
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 NIV
Graphic description. “Put to death.” Show no mercy. No excuses. When I see these negative attributes associated with my old self, I do whatever I must to destroy these destructive behaviors. This is also the idea Jesus gave us when he said if your eye causes you to lust to pluck it out.
We luxuriate in the grace God shows us, but we must also constantly evaluate ourselves in light of God’s holiness. The Bible talks about our new freedoms in Christ - that includes the freedom to execute our old selves in favor of our new selves. (That’s execute, not excuse!)
This is a two-beat plan. We cannot take away without replacing. (God doesn’t want us running around naked!) Take off and then put on! What?
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col. 3:12 NIV
We often make the mistake of thinking of these as attributes or virtues. But the description here is one of action. Read it this way. Do acts of compassion. Do acts of kindness. Do acts of humility. Do acts of gentleness. Do acts of patience. Replace the old habits with new ones.
#4 - Where do I start? _______________ .
“…to be made new in the attitude of your minds…”
These acts on the outside start with our attitudes on the inside.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” Romans 12:2 NIV
So what kind of attitude?
(1) Starts with desire. I really must WANT the new life style of the Christian. Many of us pay lip service here. We WANT the grace of Jesus’ forgiveness but at the same time WANT the old lifestyle.
(2) My attitude should take me beyond attitude to action. Not only a wanting of Jesus’ new life, but a willingness to do what is necessary to bring it about (such as killing off the old me.)
(3) Honest evaluation each day. - Confession.
(4) Seeking help - humility of the student.