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Falling Flat on my Face

"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)

I remember reading these verses over thirty years ago when I first surrendered my life to Christ.  I wanted to leave my old self behind. I wanted to be free of the desires and attitudes that I knew weren't pleasing to God.  Oh, how I tried to be my new self. I tried being righteous and holy...but I often fell flat on my face!

Someone would say something offensive or hurtful to me and my old self would rise up and fling ugly words right back at them. I'd see something I knew I couldn't afford and didn't need and I would ignore the fact that what money I had was slotted for paying bills - I'd charge it and worry about it later. I'd see a movie trailer that titillated my senses with it's horror and I'd rush right off to see it just to feel the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Or I would glance at someone, give them the once-over and make a snap judgment about their character, based on their appearance. Nothing righteous or holy in any of these things!

Nope, I wasn't very good at squashing the desires and attitudes of my old self.

One day in frustration of yet another failure to behave in a way that pleased God, I cried out to Him that this righteousness and holiness thing was just too hard.  "There is no way I can do it, Lord. I'm just not strong enough to be the person you want me to be!"

And then He opened my eyes and heart to the truth...there is no way we can do it on our own!

The only way to put on your new self (the one that was created to be created to be like God), is to begin each morning in His word and on our proverbial (or literal) knees, seeking His strength, His wisdom, His guidance and then to walk through the day with an ear inclined to His voice, so that when He prompts us to make the right choice, or say the right thing or respond the right way, we can clearly hear his prompting and then be swift to obey.

It's a daily, step-by-step process that allows us to put off our old self and become the kind of people who behave in ways that please the Lord, because that pesky old self is not so easily put off!

Prayer,
Father, thank you for creating me to be like you - righteous and holy in character and thank you for making it possible, because in my own strength, it's an impossible task, but your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Help me to stay tuned in to your voice and to be swift to obey your leading, that I might be all that you created me to be and that I might be a good witness to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. And thank you for forgiving me on those days when I still fall flat on my face!

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(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

1 comment:

Joy said...

Amen, Sistah! We can't do anything by ourselves that we really need to do. At least not to the performance level that we can when we allow God to do things through us.
Yep, that definately is a learning process. Aren't you glad we serve a God who has all the facts. That makes it so much easier to respond in a way that glorifies Him and meets the needs of those around us.
Thanks for being patient with me when I fall down and encouraging me to get back up to go at it all over again.
Love ya!