Putting off the Old Self

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, 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.” (Eph. 4:20-24, ESV)

A highlight of my summers, when I was growing up, were the weeks I spent at church camp. Often, sometime during the week, we’d have a campfire service and people would give testimonies. Some of these testimonies were quite dramatic,especially after I was in high school. You know the kind — full of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll and then a dramatic turn-around. It was great to hear about what marvelous things God did in people’s lives, but I know I came away feeling that maybe I didn’t have much of a testimony. After all, I was a small-town preacher’s kid and my big rebellion was objecting to washing dishes after supper.

What I didn’t really understand at that time in my life was that I was just as much a sinner as the kids who had rebelled in more obvious ways. As Paul writes to the Ephesians, my life was “corrupt through deceitful desires.” It didn’t matter if my desire was something apparently innocuous, such as wanting to watch TV instead of doing dishes. I had a disobedient heart and a resentful attitude. I needed to put off the old self and be transformed by Christ. That meant surrendering myself to Christ so he could make me more like him. I couldn’t do it on my own — and still can’t. It’s an ongoing process, so even though I became a Christian at age 10, I’m still growing and learning to let Christ complete that transformation.

I may not have a dramatic testimony, but I am glad that I can say I’m a sinner saved by grace, a new creation in Christ. I hope you can say that, too.

~ Eutychus

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