Children come inside after playing in the snow. They wiggle and twist, escaping heavy coats and snowsuits, then throw those burdens aside and head for toys in the warmth of the house.
A room strewn with cast off clothing might not be the scene parents desire. But it is certainly what God wants to see as His children live their resurrected lives.
The problem comes when the coat zipper is stuck.
Every one of us still has things in our lives that are so un-Christlike, those things that need to die, the old nature that rises up in revolt against the rule of the Spirit.
Until the end of our earthly days, the enemy of our souls will continue to use those things in his plot to destroy us.
The book of Colossians talks at length about living a new, resurrected life. Get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, dirty language, (3:8), lying, greed, immorality, and lust. (Read that slowly and check any that have already popped into your week.)
Instead, God says, show tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (3:12) Forgive each other, love each other, live in peace, be thankful.
Whew. How do we free ourselves of malice or rage? How do we handle anger, our immediate reaction to daily frustration? How do we control those urges to say nasty things about someone who has been nasty to us? How can we be patient when people are so aggravating? How can we possibly forgive someone who has hurt us deeply? How do we show kindness and mercy when our old nature, instead, wants to fight back and take revenge?
Some Scriptures make it sound so easy. “Throw off your old nature.” In another place, “Strip off” the old habits. Just like the children who fling away heavy coats and hats, we’re told to shed our old selfish and evil behavior.
But sometimes my old nature wraps me tightly, like a coat with a zipper that sticks and refuses to let me free myself.
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.
Eph. 4:21-24 NLT
There it is again. Our new nature is created to be like God. We’re resurrected to be like Christ.
And here’s the only way we can escape the stuck zippers: Let the Spirit of God change your thoughts and attitudes, giving you a new nature, freeing you from the old.
How does that work exactly? We don’t know. It is a choice we make, to let the Spirit renew us. The Spirit’s work is like the wind, Jesus says. You can see the evidence of it …
But here’s one clue —
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
Aha. So learning to know our Creator also has the effect of changing us, renewing us, making us new people.
I want to know the Father better.
Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17