“And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24, ESV)
Once upon a time, in the home of special friends, lived a very determined four-year-old girl. She had definite likes and dislikes, and no one had any difficulty in determining which was which. One noted battle from that time long ago concerned her shoes. Once nice and white with flashing lights in the heels, they were now completely worn out—scuffed to the point where no white remained, both toes battered and torn open, flashing lights forever darkened. Her parents had bought her new shoes weeks before, but she fiercely clung to the old, ragged pair, wearing them every day. Threats to put them in the trash brought loud wails of, “No-o-o-o-o-o!” She stubbornly resisted change.
Watching Annie’s determination to keep her worn out shoes made me shake my head in wonder. Why would anyone choose something ready for the trash bin over a sparkling new item? Kids! Then I realized that this was not a four-year-old problem. It was a human problem and age made little difference. How many times does God offer us something new and better, but we stubbornly cling to our old worn-out habits and desires?
First of all, God promises us a new way of living. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17, NKJV). When the Lord comes into our lives, we take on a new perspective and set new goals. Our values change. We think differently and we act differently. Even our looks change. One friend laughingly told me that her co-workers just couldn’t figure out what was different—new hairdo, new glasses? Someone even suggested she’d had a facelift. That was closer to the truth. Her face now reflected the joy of the Lord because she had been filled with His Spirit. She had a new look and a new outlook.
When we finally surrender our old lives to God, He places a new heart and a new spirit inside (Ezekiel 36:26). We might think of it as receiving a divine heart transplant. God takes out our old stony heart and gives us one that is soft and tender towards Him. Ephesians 4:23 says our minds are renewed, and Revelation 3:12 even promises we will receive a new name.
Annie finally gave up her worn-out shoes and reluctantly began to wear the new ones. I’m glad I was not there that day to see the final battle. Although now a teenager, I’ve noticed she still has a strong tendency toward the old and comfortable over the new and better.
I wonder . . . could I sometimes be just as stubborn with God? Those old habits and old ways are so comfortable; I’ve enjoyed them so long. But, no! I choose to allow God to give me all the wonderful new things He has planned for my life. What about you?
Lord, thank You for the new life You offer to whomsoever will come. Help me to surrender my old thought patterns, my old desires, my old attitudes and habits. You offer a new way of living that is so much better than the old things I held onto for so long. When You filled me with Your Spirit. I became completely new.
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