Overcoming The Old Nature
Every Saturday afternoon, an Eskimo fisherman came to town. His two dogs would accompany him. There was a black one and a white one. They would fight at his command. On one Saturday, the black dog would win, and on another Saturday, the white dog would win. Whenever the Eskimo took bets, he always won. His friends began asking him how he did it. Eskimo replied, 'Easy, I starved one and fed the other. The stronger one always wins.'
This story of two dogs is apt because it tells us about our inner warfare when we become born-again Christians. There are two natures within us, the old self and the new self, striving to master each other. Some bible translations call the old self the 'old man.' Which one will dominate us? It depends on which one we feed. If we feed our spiritual lives or new self and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us, the new self will rule over us. If we starve our new self and feed the old self instead, the flesh will dominate.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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. - Eph. 4:20-24
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:9-10
Now that we have been born again in Christ, we have been spiritually raised from our dead state to the newness of life. And because of this, we are to renounce the world and its dominion over us, and we must surrender our lives and our old ways to God. By putting to death our old self, we are declaring our new relationship in Christ to the world.
Today, the internet exposes us to even more anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk. They feed our minds. To off the old self can be a daily struggle. For this reason, putting to death our old self is something we have to do daily because there will be considerable pressure from the world on Christian believers to continue to live as they used to.
Do you struggle with your new self? Do you miss your old self?
How much of your old self have you given up?
What do you do when you realise you are returning to your old self?
Thank you that when we become believers and followers of you, we can "put off the old man" and "put on the new man," pursuing a lifestyle of holiness and righteousness. Thank you that our sin does not define us. Through the Holy Spirit, we can be transformed into the newness of life.
Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the power you have given us. Through the Holy Spirit's empowering, we can renew our minds daily and clothe ourselves in purity. As we walk closely with you in our new life, we ask that you renew our minds and that hinder us from walking closely with you. We love you, Lord, and we thank you for freeing us of all the ‘old man’. We gladly invite the new in through you.
In Jesus' Name we pray,
“The God who made us also can remake us.” – Woodrow Kroll