(This week’s devotions are based on Week 1 of the Series, “The Power of a Fresh Start!” WATCH HERE)
Don’t go back to the old!
Change can be hard. Have you ever received something new and it sits around for a while because it’s just hard for you to give up the old? I have tools in my workshop that I still have even though I have new ones. Maybe you get new clothes, but it’s hard to get rid of the old ones.
It can be this way with the new life God has given us in Jesus. There is something about the sinful nature in each of us that loves to still have influence in our hearts and lives.
Why? Because the new life we have in Jesus is not natural. Living according to our sinful nature is.
But the blessing comes from enjoying the new person we are because we are loved, redeemed, child of God.
The Apostle Paul reflects on the new person we become in baptism:
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
A big part of the new life is a new identity. Yes, sin still is a reality, but it’s ruling, enslaving influence is diminished. Sin no longer has to be our master and the consequence of sin no longer our fate. Just as Christ died for sin, so the power of sin over us is crucified. Just as Jesus was raised to a new life, so we are given a new life. But what does that new life look like? How does it contrast to the old?
Again Paul writes in Galatians 5:
Galatians 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The new person loves to keep in step with the Spirit and enjoy the blessing the fruit of the Spirit brings. However, the spiritual battle that is very real and raging every day makes being the new person God created us to be difficult. It’s easy to give up the battle and give in to the sinful flesh. It’s hard to walk by the Spirit.
The blessing in it all, is the Spirit of God gives us the power to do what he made us to do: walk with him. It’s tempting each day to go back to the old way, but with the guidance of God’s Spirit and the power of the Almighty God, let’s enjoy the new person God has made us to be!
Apply: What is the strongest pull in your life to abandon walking with the Spirit and allow your sinful nature to take hold?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for giving me a fresh start and making me a new person in Jesus. Empower me to keep in step with your Spirit each and every day. AMEN.