December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“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)
As we’ve discussed in this week’s devotionals, prior to coming to Jesus—and even as believers—we take on identities and labels that come from the world, from culture, from family, from other people, and even ones we place on ourselves, but these are not from God and not what God says about us.
We’ve also outlined what God does say about us and the identity He speaks over us as believers. Today, I want to share a bit about how we can walk in this identity as dearly loved children of God and followers of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:22, Paul encourages us to “put off [our] old self.” The language here is metaphorical and invites us to imagine “the old self” like dirty, ratty clothes we take off and trash, never to put it on again. Have you ever had a piece of clothing that was trendy at some point and you find it in your closet years later and wonder, “What was I thinking,” and then toss it? That’s what we’re supposed to do with the old self: trash it; toss it! Now, the old self includes our sinful lifestyle, worldly thinking, philosophies and ideologies, the things we used to pursue, the way we used to speak, think, act, and interact with people, and the way we used to view ourselves, God, others, and the world.
Instead, as those who are saved and being sanctified (becoming more like Jesus), we’re instructed to put on the new self, the new wardrobe of holiness (set apart for God, called to live and act differently), and righteousness (made right with God and living right amongst others according to the Word of God). Have you ever seen one of those home renovation shows where they replace a hideous kitchen with a beautifully-updated one or completely gut a house and remodel it to be amazing? They trash all the old stuff in order to make room for the new. That’s what has to happen in us, in the way we think, act, and live, in the way we view ourselves, the world, and other people. We must embrace the new person and the new robes He places on us in Christ Jesus.
So, how do we embrace the new person? How do we walk in our new identity and walk in it daily? Well, Paul tells us in Romans 13:14 (NIV) to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you want to ditch the old wardrobe and the old labels that came with it, put on Christ in your life! Focus on who He is, on His identity, and on the labels He’s given in the Word. Clothe yourself in His Word, His presence, and His character. Put your energy, focus, attention, and identity in who He is, what He’s done, and what He says about you!
Pause: What steps can you take to put on the new self and clothe yourself daily with the Lord Jesus Christ?
Practice: Do a search on the names and titles of Jesus and on what the Bible says about Jesus’ person, role, mission, work, character, and nature. Understanding Him on a deeper level WILL change the way you look at your life, yourself, your purpose, the world, and how you think, act, speak, and interact with others!
Pray: Father, help me put off the old self and clothe myself in Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Help me focus all my attention on Jesus—on who Jesus is and what Jesus has done and is doing—as opposed to on myself. Sanctify me daily and draw me deeper into Christ. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.