I was in a Habitat for Humanity store and noticed six attractive dining room chairs and an eight foot table. As I examined the quality and design, a store worker came up and asked me if I had any questions. I mentioned the attractiveness of the chairs and he said that it was a recent donation from a family that moved out of the area.
He added that the family had redone the chairs a few months ago and the results of the makeover were the new color and design scheme. He was surprised the chairs had lasted this long and was certain they would be purchased by the end of the day and/or week. The reason for his optimism was the work of the upholsterer and explained what he had heard happened when the chairs were delivered.
That craftsman did not just cover over the chairs with new material, as some might expect. That would not work because the new fabric would ruin the shape of the chair. Instead a competent upholsterer recognizes and demands on tearing the chair down to its fundamental framing and then putting on the new material. Sound familiar?
Read Ephesians 4:17-24.
The apostle Paul wrote in the first century about the work God wants to do in each of us for our growth and maturity. He is not interested in taking our human effort and adding to them, or dressing us up, or covering us up. God knows better. Our old sin nature has the ability to continue to perform religious activities, but that isn’t the real work the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives. God actually intends to replace our character with what Paul called the “new man.”
Paul understood and communicated the replacement principle that was critical if we were to become like Jesus. Consider his words about “putting on new clothes” in verse 24: “Put on the new self, created to be like God, in true righteousness and holiness.” He argued that as we exchange our old speech, ideas, attitudes, and actions for those of Jesus and His Kingdom, we encounter a radical change at the core of who we are. As Isaiah said in 40:31 of his book, we are recipients of an amazing exchange that we did not deserve – new for old.
My mom used to say “garbage in and garbage out.” The GIGO principle is still in practice today. I need to be disciplined in the use of my words as well as what my eyes and ears take in. Yet it is not enough to just conduct a cosmetic upgrade by ourselves now and then.
What speech or behavior patterns do you need to “put off?” What Kingdom behavior do you need to “put on” in its place? If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and we would not need the saving help of Jesus or the daily enablement of the Holy Spirit.
Inside each of us is the drive to be “good enough” in our view and strength. Yet we fool ourselves into dumbing down and excusing our behavior, especially with our moms no longer around every day, and little or no vital connection to the Holy Spirit.
Keep in mind that God desires to re-upholsterer us with the new man (or woman), so we are re-made in the image of Him who designed each of us. His laser-like focus is to make us into the likeness of Jesus Himself. We do our part by putting aside our old behaviors and yielding our hearts to the Holy Spirit. Grow devotionally. Put off the old and put on the new.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz