By Julie Hamilton
Who were you before Christ? Were you self sufficient, arrogant and prideful? Were you heavily into substance abuse? Were you short tempered and demanding? What happened when you accepted Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? How did your life change? In this month take time to describe your ‘old self’. Who were you? I distinctly remember how God changed me after I got saved, I lacked confidence and really did not understand my purpose in life. After God gripped my life I put aside my old life and realized that God had a plan and a purpose for me. I had ‘Godfidence’ because my life was not about me but about how to glorify God! Instead of walking through life with a ‘me’ focus I found myself thinking of ways I could help others. This does not mean, however, that I have this down perfectly, but trusting God for my life has given me an amazing FREEDOM.
In the second chapter of Cynthia Heald’s Bible Study, ‘Becoming A Woman of Freedom’, I found this quote by Hannah Whitall Smith:
“The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself…into the care and keeping of your God. He made you and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.”
Ephesians 4: 22-24 is the perfect verse for our topic this month. Paul states, “…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Now that you have examined who you were before Christ, how do you lay aside that old self?
Philippians 3:12-14 encourages us, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This verse encourages us to forget what happened in the past by keeping a forward focus. Paul encouraged the Philippians to ‘press on’ so that they may, ’lay hold of that for which also we are laid hold of by Christ Jesus.’ We have to think outside of our boxes and understand that Jesus chose us to become His people; He created each one of us and knew who our spouses and children would be; He gave each of us gifts to use for His glory. We have a job to do that He created us for. If you do not understand what this ‘job’ is for you, spend some quiet time in prayer and seek the Lord for this answer. I already know that if God called you to home school your children, this is your full time job!! As you embrace what God has for you it will be easy to lay aside the past and the old self and, “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”!! Back to Ephesians 4:24, “put on the new self”!!
Paul ends the verse with this, “Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” God made our new selves in the likeness of God and this new self has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ponder this! This is so amazing!
So, as you walk through this month try to take time to realize the Freedom you have in Christ. That our “new selves” have been created in the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Help your children to understand this as well. This is life changing! This will help us keep our eyes on the Lord and not on ourselves.