What is The New Self?
In recent decades, it has been difficult for one of America’s younger generations to define exactly who they are. Generation Y, (or Millennials), finds itself in a state of cultural limbo. Tired of the previous generation’s diehard rallying for cultural change, Generation Y has refused to take a firm stand on their identity as a group of people. In some respects, a similar mentality has captivated the people of God. Surrounded by post-modern thought, many of God’s children aren’t sure who they are. In Ephesians chapter 4, we find two options for our identity.
The first option is the “old self” (Ephesians 4:22). The old self encapsulates the spirit, the very nature, of a people who are separated from God based on willful ignorance, and a hard heart (v. 18). The old self is an attitude about life that reflects itself in our outward actions. This is why Paul tells us to “lay aside” or literally to “take off as a garment” the old self, because our attitude dictates our outward actions (v. 22). The consequences of a child of God retaining the mindset of the world will result in a callousing of their conscience. This ultimately leads to a desire to engage in all types of sin (v. 19). Clinging to the old self, we cannot stand before a holy God.
The second option is the “new self” (v. 24). The new self is an entirely different spirit or mindset we must grow into: the mind of Christ (v. 15). The new self goes far beyond simply trying to follow a list of God’s “Do’s and Don’ts.” Jesus was the only sinless man. For Him it was not a burden to submit to the Father’s commands, because His mindset continually thirsted after “righteousness and holiness of the truth” (v. 24). We are commanded to do the same. We are to remove the garment of the old self and “put on” Christ’s mind as our new clothing (v. 24). This takes being “renewed in the spirit” of our minds (v. 23). We simply cannot change the way we live without first changing the way we think.
This is much more than an individual mentality. In verses 12-24 we find 11 personal pronouns (we & you), and every one is plural. Paul is clearly referring to God’s people as a collective body: he’s talking about the church as a whole. If each individual member of the “body” (v. 16), will grow into having the mindset of Jesus our “head” (v. 15), then the church will become the “mature man” which resembles the “fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Our identity as God’s church hinges on what type of attitude we approach every situation in life with. The only hope we have of fulfilling God’s will for us is to continually lay aside the world’s way of thinking and clothe ourselves with the spirit of Christ’s mind. If we can learn to think like Christ, we can better live like Christ. We can be the new self that will spend eternity with God.
“The New Self” blog is aimed at trying to understand the mind of Jesus Christ as revealed through Him and His apostles, in all of Scripture. With this approach we can make Christ’s way of thinking our way of thinking. We must strive every day to view life through our ‘Christ-Colored Glasses’. My hope is for all of us to grow together into “all aspects into Him who is the head, Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15).
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