I once was treated to a makeover in which a generous friend not only bought me gorgeous clothes, but arranged for a swanky haircut and new makeup. Giggling and thanking her, I swished around my stylish tresses. My friend knew I had recently made some life changes so that I could better follow Christ and wanted to celebrate by helping me feel beautiful not only on the inside but on the outside too. It was a truly special moment. I knew that those who follow Jesus don’t need a makeover to reveal God’s presence to others, but my friend’s gesture gave me a visual reminder that when we submit our lives to Him our lives are transformed.
As the apostle Paul wrote in many of his letters, believers in Jesus are continually transformed to be like Him. But, as we see in Ephesians 4, we are not passive in the process. In the original language, the verbs for resisting our old patterns and being made new in our minds are all active. “Throw off your old sinful nature . . . . Put on your new nature” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
As we grow, we must continually embrace the “new self” we have in Him, instead of returning to the person we are on our own—our “old self.” Because it’s easy to fall back into the old habits we had before knowing Jesus, we need to submit to the Spirit’s transformation continually.
And we are changed, inside out, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This is a freeing message, for daily transformation means we can become more like Christ moment by moment. We don’t have to be stuck in the mire of sinful patterns of behavior. Through the Holy Spirit’s power we can embrace a truly new way of life.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 24:28-67
Paul speaks often of the new self. See Colossians 3:9-10, in which he describes believers in Jesus growing to be more and more like the Creator.
Does knowing that putting on the new self is an active process change how you view your life in Christ? How can you incorporate this truth into your life?