If you are a regenerated follower of Christ then you know what it is like to deal with that old nature that used to be you as he continually shows up in the most unexpected places to strangle you.
I find myself fighting the old me like a zombie that I kill and wait long enough, he’s up and attacking again. But the Bible commands us to kill our old self daily.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
If I kill him today it is a victory, but I can guarantee you that he will be back tomorrow for more. There have been times when I have been lazy and ignored the daily battle and returned to find that my enemy had gotten stronger while I was asleep and conquered me. But because Christ is merciful He always forgives His saints.
The only way for me to have communion with Christ and to fulfill His mission for me is to put off the old me. The old me is the Joel that was born in with desires to seek his own career, his own goals, his own passions, his own treasure, his own relationships, and his own way.
The new me is the Joel that is no longer a slave to sin, but a son to God. The new me desires to seek Christ’s career. Christ’s goals, Christ’s passions, Christ’s treasure, Christ’s relationships, and Christ’s way.
The old me was diseased and dying. The new me is simply Christ and the reflection of His life. It is a work in progress and continually being refined for future glory!
The more the old self dies, the more the new self grows. The less the oldself dies, the less the new self grows.
1. Thought Life
I would say that Satan, our enemy’s, primary and most common method of attack upon the believer is in our thought lives. His attack may come in the form of a feeling which may lead into a thought. A couple years ago, while talking to a therapist about thought life, I was introduced to the concept of “itrusive thoughts.”
Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that we do not mean to have. We may be doing anything at any time when an unappropriate or unclea thought pops up. Ever been sitting in church and the strangest thought pops up leaving you amazed that you could even have had such a thought, much less in a church service.
We should not be dismayed that we have intriusive thoughts. We are sinners. There is an enemy. Our enemy wants to destroy us. We are called to resist our enemy and endure for Christ.
Intrusive thoughts do not make you anymore of a sinner than you already are. But they do pose a threat to the new nature that you have been introduced with in Christ. And anything that opposes Christ is an enemy of God and of your soul.
Instead of feeling guilty for having intrusive thoughts, we should hold every thought captive and resist the ones that do not glorify God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)(Philippians 4:8-9)If you identify an intrsuive thought that is sinful and of the enemy be quick to remind your enemy of your salvation and the grounds of the finished work on the Cross of Christ and make the stand to resist him. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
2. Your Actions
Your actions throughout every day have so much to do with potiential grounds that could be given to the enemy to distract you.
I once described this to Averie as being confident while walking on the narrow road and focusing on the path before your feet. But the distraction is set by the enemy beforehand like a mouse trap. You catch something glamorous in the corner of your eye. And as your eye slowly steers toward the pretty object, your eyes slowly lose focus on that narrow path that leads to life. By the time that you realize you’ve looked at this snaring object long enough, you look down to make sure that your feet are on the original path and to your shocking and frightening surprise you cannot find the path! You look around everywhere and walk to and fro, but cannot find the path anywhere. As you are panicing and trying to find it, the sky gets darker and darker, while wolves and lions begin to surround you ready to devour you. In that moment you almost collapse and Christ flies through the air and snatches you out of the claws of the prowler and carries youy away on eagles wings and finally sets your feet right back on the narrow path. And through this illustration of our walk, He shows His great faithfulness and mercy. Not because you are any greater or any worse, but because He is Mighty, Majestic, Gracious, and all Powerful!
We must continually educate ourselves with sound doctrine and quote righteous theology. The Word of God is living and sufficient to strike down the deadliest of snares, lies, and traps set by the enemy himself.
3. In Relaxing
Afterwork everyday, the first thing that I want to do is kick off my shoes and relax. The last thing that I want to do is stress.
I have found through spiritual maturity that I must be on guard against my old nature especially in these times. My mind best tends to be idle and prone for enemy targeting. I try not to watch TV without a specific, beforehand, intent. The same goes with our internet browsing. We have programs like Covenant Eyes Safe Eyes on all of our networking devices for a good reason.
Stay alert 24/7 and have faith in the promises of God that the reward will be worth it! Your old creeping self will not get passed that!
4. Where I am spending my time.
Whenever I go anywhere I need to be prepared to exalt, defend, and introduce Christ into my speech.
As Christians we should never be ashamed to proclaim with the utmost confidence that we are followers of Jesus Christ, the highest King of Kings in all of the Universe by His own grace.
I have been learning lately that as I pray “Hallowed by thy Name,” for the Kingdom of God to be fulfilled through the Will of God on earth just like it is in Heaven, to pray most commonly, “lead me not into temptation.”
I know that on my own will power alone that I will flat out fall into temptation and embarress myself. That is why I must depend on Christ to deliver me. I have found myself at times pleading with God to deliver me when that hour comes. Praise God for His mercy, because there have been times when I should have fallen upon a sin and had been delivered as the Holy Spirit supernaturally redirected my feet elsewhere.
There is never a time that we are excused to sin when knowing full well what we are doing. We are commanded to flee temptation at all cost as soon as it is identified.
5. Who or what I depend on.
While carefully differentiating between two identities I must be careful on whom or what I am depending to get me through.
My wife, Averie and I, are not only husband and wife, but best friends. I have personally found it hard at times not to depend on her for things that only God is worthy of. I love my wife and don’t want to put her in a position that will disappoint both her and me because God is the only hero strong enough to bear all things.
If I am not careful, I can depend on someone or something that could turn into a potential idol. I do not want anything or especially anyone whom I love so dearly to turn into hindrnace between me and my Savior. Instead of expecting my loved ones to be God, I want to point them to God through Christ.
I want to be grounded in the truth of Christ that is the way to life. Christ has carried Averie and I through some pretty crazy things. There have been situations that we have been delivered from in our lives that we just could not deny was God’s healing and restoration in areas that He chose to bless us. While blessing is just one way that God chooses to reveal His presence to us throughout our lives, we must always be attentive to listen to what He is saying at every given moment.
God does not work on our timing, but His timing alone. He alone knows best how you and your family are going to be used for His Kingdom on earth for Heaven.
6. What I take in.
Being that I grew up in a racially italian family, I am familiar with the “family first” style.
I have always been a sensitive person at heart. And seeingmy daughter who is 2 years old now, I see more of me in her than ever in, in so long.
I know this is a lot of people, but it especially me; I tend to take both compliments and offenses to heart too deep. This is an emotional weakness that God is still working on me with. I continually pray that He will keep satisfying the depths of my heart with pleasures, blessings, and treasures that last forever and not the things that will die and take me with them.
I love my family so much and would give my arm and my leg to help them in time of trouble, but Christ said in Matthew 10 that He did not come to bring peace between family members in this life, but a sword.
I have been asked by people, “does this mean that God wants me to hate my family? That doesn’t sound right!”
There is one instance where the Lord asks those who follow Him to hate their father, mother, brother, sister, wife, and children in order to do so, or else they are not worthy of His discipleship at all.
This should obviously not be interpreted as a sinful hate, but a righteous hate. A righteous hate is a love for Jesus that makes your family love look like hate in comparison.
Our home is heaven and if our hearts are always set on it, then we will not be heart broken because our hearts depend on the next life coming.
So let’s set our deepest longing on the things of eternal righteousness.
If we put on all six essential additions to our bodies and equip ourselves daily with the armor of God, then we will be enabled to fight off the attacks of the enemy and the old self.
Unfortunately, some Christians do are not fond of the thought that the devil could be prowling around the corner like a hungry lion, but the Bible warns it!
Do I think that the devil is behind every bush? No, not every bush. Just every bush besides the burning bush itself that burns eternally and never burns.
“Lord help us to set our hearts on eternal things that last forever. Allow me to forsake waters that will leave me dry and thirsty again, and to trade it all for the Living water that will cure me of thirst forever. My heart desires nothing but you and your Son, Jesus!”
“I thank you that you are my God, my friend, my counseler, my protector, my provider, my master, and most of all, my Father!”