Monday, January 29

A Sharp New Suit

Here's my finances study #10.

Now we're getting to the meat of Paul's application. I love the first lesson here, because it is so practical and helps me see how all these amazing promises of the Kingdom of God really come to us. 

Passage: Eph. 4:22-27
 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.

Paul gives us this three-fold pattern:
1. Put off your old self.
2. Be renewed in your minds.
3. Put on the new self.
The image is changing our clothes. 

We need to take off the old clothes of our old self. Our old self is our former way of life. It's hard for me to toss old clothes. Old clothes are familiar. They are comfortable. But our old self is corrupt. My old self is corrupt, and yours is, too. We are deluded, deceived, fooled, living in our old self. What deceives us? Our lusts. As Paul said in chapter 2, we were like zombies enslaved to the way of this world, the devil, and the passions of our flesh. 

The snazzy new outfit we're to put on is our new self. Isn't it great to have new clothes? I bought a new suit last month to officiate a wedding. I loved it! When you wear new clothes you feel like a million bucks. You feel like a changed person. Unfortunately, in that case the change isn't even skin deep. And new clothes quickly become old clothes.

But in this case, the change takes hold all the way to the roots of our person. We are completely changed. They say clothes makes the man. God makes the new man, the new woman. When Paul talks about the new self, he is talking about Christ (ch. 2). We are to put on Christ like we would put on a new suit of clothes. When we look in the mirror, we see Christ. When walk around, people see Jesus himself. Clothes may make the man, but Jesus makes a new person.

But this happens as a process: take off the old, be renewed in your minds, put on the new.

1. What old self do I need to take off in regards to dealing with money?
-Not facing financial problems. If I feel a vague sense something's wrong, I sometimes hope it will go away.
-Avoiding conflict. If I think it will make my wife or someone else unhappy that we don't have enough money to do something, I try to make it work anyway, ignoring consequences.
-Indulgence. I think happiness and a good life come from doing the things we think are good to do, and hope that God will give us the money after the fact, rather than making the tough choice up front.

Tomorrow I will come back to this because this passage requires a lot of good reflection, and answer these questions:
How does my mind need renewing regarding money?
What will my new self look like once I've put on Christ?

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