“Put on the new self,
created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness.”
When we receive a new car, smartphone, tablet or computer it makes sense to read the manual to find out about the new features. So should we as Christians when we become a new person in Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches us the qualities, gifts and fruit that are a part of this gift.
Our conversion involves putting off the old self and putting on the new. We need to get used to continually rejecting that old and embracing this new self. What is it like? Well it is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. That tells us that it is completely different from the old self and the ways of the world around us. The best example we have is Jesus Himself. But there are more insights contained in Jesus teaching, both directly and through others like Paul.
All of these new qualities and gifts are like pockets woven into the new garment we have been given and with which we are encouraged to clothe ourselves fully. That means we have to become completely familiar with it and to adapt ourselves to what it brings to us. Like a new car or phone we can explore and examine the new features and get used to using them. They are not things that we have to go out and find but rather built-in features that we need to identify, liberate and develop.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount tells us that they will include such characteristics as knowing our spiritual poverty without Him, mourning over sin and the pain in the world, meekness, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, purity, mercy and peace-making. Paul, describing the fruit of the Spirit, tells us that there is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then there are the specific gifts intended for each one of us. And for everyone the greatest gift of all, that of love, is ‘poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’ Himself. It is the heart and foundation upon which all the others are developed
If they are not yet evident it may mean that we have not realised what we have been given – and identified them, unpacked them and asked God to help us use and develop them. As with anything the more we use them the more they will grow and develop.
Search the New Testament to find out what is and is not a part of this new creation. Ask the Lord to help you to liberate and use the new ‘features’ that He has given you. Trust that He will do this through the Holy Spirit within you. Practice using them even if they appear strange at first.
Lord God please help me to grow into the new creation that You have made me – and to use and develop the special features that You have provided for me. Amen.