Wednesday, September 01, 2010

new self

Ephesians 4:24 "and to clothe yourself with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."


I really like this verse.  Particularly the phrase "new self".  We desire to be made new, and it's not about shedding everything we've ever been through as if we could forget how this broken world has impacted us.  How we've been hurt, cheated, lied to, offended.  How we've hurt, cheated, lied to, and offended others.  So many of those things, even after forgiveness comes, linger in the corners of our minds and the back of our soul...and we convince ourselves that a good Christian would be able to forget completely the ways of this world...so we pretend we have.

But this and other verses (2 Corinthians 5:4) remind us that it's not about destroying who we have been and building completely from the ground up.  Any more than God is about scrapping the entire cosmos in order to rebuild things completely different.  It's about God taking what exists, and "swallowing up by life". 

God desires to take what has happened, and what is happening in our lives, and "clothe" these things with a new purpose.  Not to ignore what it is, and pretend hearing words like these will automatically bring hope to those who have experienced immense pain.  But approaching what is, genuinely and with a Love and Desire to make all things New.  To redeem our entire lives, transforming not only our hearts and minds, but our history as well.

The words for "new self" continue to be very encouraging.  The word "new" is "kainos", which can either mean new form (recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn), or new substance (of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of).  I would think both translations could be quite Hope-filling. 

It also helps that the verse directly before it uses the words "put away your former way of life, your old self".  The word for old here is "palaios", which means old, ancient, no longer new, worn by use, comes from the root word for "former" or "long ago".

I think it's one of the reasons I love Youth Ministry.  They understand the concept of acquiring a new identity, and letting go of an old one.  Heck, many of them develop new identities on an annual basis as they go from 7th-12th grades. (usually just one in 6th or 7th, another in 9th, and another toward the end of 12th) :)  So the task becomes, allowing them to see that can happen from God in a way that is quite supernaturally different from receiving it from their peers, culture, or family situations.  Thank you, Jesus....

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