Friday, May 29, 2009

Before the New After the Old

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NAS)

Old and New Back in those days when I was still being paid a handsome wage monthly, I used to indulge myself with luxury goods to satisfy my own wants. After weathering many trials and going through difficult times, however, I have learned that living a fruitful life is not all about living in riches, but about living for the Lord in all circumstances.

True living is not about accumulating material wealth where moth and rust destroy (Matthew 6:19). It is about living our lives dedicated for the purpose of God, where true satisfaction is derived by serving the Lord whole heartedly, not by the riches of this world, but by the grace of God, fulfilled and content in the fullness of His sufficiency.

Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, told a parable of a rich man who tore down his barns to build larger ones to lay up enough grain and goods to last him for many years while he relax from labor to eat, drink and be merry. God, however, decided that on that very night his soul would be required of him. Who then would inherit what the rich man had prepared (Luke 12:16-21)?

Some of us, before becoming Christians, are like the rich man in the parable. We lived our lives as if there is no tomorrow or as if it does not matter whether there is a future, because we know we will one day still have to die. Our lives before we have Christ were therefore all about accumulating wealth for ourselves to satisfy our own desires while alive, a process consisting of meaningless daily routine and hard work till the day we breathe our last.

After receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, however, we ought now to live our lives anew in the Lord, because our old selves have passed away and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). As believers, therefore, we should no longer be worried about what we will eat or what we will wear, for life is more than food and the body more than clothes (Luke 12:22-23). Our Father knows our needs; He will take care of us and add to us the things we need. Our lives should therefore be to seek first the kingdom of God (Luke 12:24-31).

Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians, exhorted the Christians to lay aside their old selves and be renewed in the spirit of their minds to put on the new selves which in the likeness of God, created in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24). We should therefore lay aside our old selves of lusts, deceit and selfishness, and be renewed in our minds in the likeness of Jesus, to live our lives holy and righteous. We should no longer live as though there is no tomorrow, for we know what awaits in the future.

Our lives have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and we should in return, present our lives as holy and living sacrifice to the Lord, which is our acceptable spiritual act of worship. We should not conform to the ways we have lived in the past, but we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we will be able to stand the test and prove what is the will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord ... to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:1-5 NAS)

Dear Lord, thank You for enabling us by Your Spirit to put off our old selves and put on the new. Help us Lord to put aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander, and like newborn babies, having tasted of Your kindness, seek to know You more through Your word. Change our hearts Lord that we may not listen to the world, but with willing hearts offer ourselves as spiritual sacrifices acceptable to You, to seek first Your kingdom, and not our own desires. Use us Lord for your work, as we lay aside the old of our past, and live anew for the future, holy unto You.

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