I am doing a personal study on the Fruit of the Spirit. Spending some time mediating, reading and praying through this, one verse and one concept has really made an impact already.
Ephesians 4: 22-24: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
What is Paul saying here? He’s teaching that not only do we need to pursue a new self, new attitudes and desires that match up with God’s standards, but at the same time, we actually have to tear off our old self, which is being corrupted.
An exchange needs to take place, a replacement. So often we work hard at getting rid of our addictions, our personal failures, our hang-ups (which we absolutely should), but as hard as we work on that, we also need to find a replacement for those things we are trying to get rid of, which is our new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Yes, we need to put to death our sinful habits, with the help of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time, again, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we take on a new self, full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, etc.
It’s not one in spite of the other, it’s an equal balance of both. Replacing something unhealthy for you, for something healthy, something life giving.