Changing habits: put off the old; put on the new

James 1-21From James 1:21 (NLT) comes the Verse of the Day for July 15, 2015:

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

The English Standard Version renders the verse this way:E

James 1:21 (ESV)

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

In Ephesians 4:22-25 (NKJV) we find a similar exhortation:

22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Here is the same passage in the New Living Translation:

22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

These passages remind us to

Put off the old. Put on the new and leave the past behind.

Follow Christ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. In the same way that we change garments every day, we are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, we are encouraged to be

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.  

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

Bump it up!”

 

And do not be conformed to this world,  

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,  

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable 

and perfect will of God.     

Romans 12:2

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but patiently learning to  wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with my mouth confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we should do: always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

Changing our thinking habits is similar to changing our clothes which are sometimes spoken of as “habits” in a most literal sense. Colossians 3:12-15 remind believers of this reality:

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

The process of changing our garments is described in a captivating way, as Patty Loveless sings of “Two Coats.”

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