VIDEO Nothing of the Old Life!

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices— He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We even say to ourselves, “God has to deal with other people in a very strict way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.” But we must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. Our old gloomy outlook disappears, as does our old attitude toward things, and “all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind…is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

For the past three hundred years men have been pointing out how similar Jesus Christ’s teachings are to other good teachings. We have to remember that Christianity, if it is not a supernatural miracle, is a sham.  The Highest Good, 548 L


THE NEW YOU – 2 Corinthians 5:17

True Change

You were taught . . . to put on the new self. Ephesians 4:22–24

Raised in a turbulent home in South London, Claud started selling marijuana at fifteen and heroin when he was twenty-five. Needing a cover for his activities, he became a mentor to young people. Soon he became intrigued by his manager, a believer in Jesus, and wanted to know more. After attending a course exploring the Christian faith, he “dared” Christ to come into his life. “I felt such a welcoming presence,” he said. “People saw a change in me instantly. I was the happiest drug dealer in the world!”

Jesus didn’t stop there. When Claud weighed up a bag of cocaine the next day, he thought, This is madness. I’m poisoning people! He realized he must stop selling drugs and get a job. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he turned off his phones and never went back.

This kind of change is what the apostle Paul referenced when he wrote to the church at Ephesus. Calling the people not to live separated from God, he urged them to “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” and instead to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:2224). The verb form Paul used implies that we’re to put on the new self regularly.

As with Claud, the Holy Spirit delights to help us to live out of our new selves and become more like Jesus.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

What examples can you bring to mind of how God changes people, including you? How do these stories build your faith in Him, even when change seems impossible?

Loving God, thank You that You don’t give up on people. Show me how I can become more like You.

Sunday Reflection: Giving in Community

How can you share with someone today?

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted miser who hoarded wealth and refused to share with people in need. He’s an extreme case, but let’s be honest—aren’t we all tempted to be a little like him at times? 

Feeling overextended, tired, or worried about our circumstances, we want to keep our time and resources for ourselves—even though we know we’re called to give generously (Matthew 5:422 Corinthians 9:6). Despite realizing that all we have is from God and that believers are to give because He gave first, we find generosity to be a struggle.

It’s important to remember no individual can answer every need—and it’s rarely possible for one person to fully address even a single need. But the community of faith can help. By each of us doing our part in answering God’s call for generosity, we become more effective at bearing one another’s burdens. 

When we realize those needs aren’t ours to handle alone, we’ll more likely feel liberated to give what we can—openly, sacrificially, and without shame or resentment.

Think about it

  • What can you share with others? What could you offer that might not have a financial cost? 

Light Affliction?

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Paul’s afflictions could hardly be considered “light” in the realm of natural human reasoning. Later in this epistle, Paul recounts beatings, imprisonments, grievous perils during many journeys, hunger, thirst, lack of clothing, and numerous persecutions (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). And just a few verses earlier, he said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (4:8-9). Indeed, immediately after Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, the Lord Jesus Christ foretold to Ananias in a vision concerning Paul, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).

In modern Christianity, the gospel is often watered down and portrayed as a means of self-empowerment to achieve one’s personal goals and dreams. But Christ preached, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

When this mandate is followed, we can expect trouble and persecution. But despite everything the devil and the world can throw against us, we can be assured that these light and temporal afflictions are just for a passing moment in comparison to a glorious eternity with Jesus Christ. Thus, we have the precious promise that these things work for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” and “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). JPT

Welcome, Holy Spirit!

In all their affliction he was afflicted…and in his pity he redeemed them….But they…vexed his holy Spirit.Isaiah 63:9-10

We can best repent our neglect by neglecting [the Holy Spirit] no more.

Let us begin to think of Him as One to be worshiped and obeyed.

Let us throw open every door and invite Him in.

Let us surrender to Him every room in the temple of our hearts and insist that He enter and occupy as Lord and Master within His own dwelling.

And let us remember that He is drawn to the sweet name of Jesus as bees are drawn to the fragrance of clover.

Where Christ is honored the Spirit is sure to feel welcome; where Christ is glorified He will move about freely, pleased and at home. POM072

When the Scripture says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30), it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved. COU052

For New Christians

Stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Christians need to stand with their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. The moment we begin to compromise on the Word of God and the great truths of the gospel, we shall not only slide in the understanding of our faith but also in its practice.

Permit me to say a word to those who have been in the Christian life for just a short time. Now that you are a Christian, take your stand unflinchingly on the Lord’s side. When you meet your old friends—those you used to hang around with in the days before you came to know the Lord—and they propose that you go on doing the things you used to do that you know are not in harmony with God’s Word, then be resolute and refuse. Take a firm stand, and watch that you do not slip toward them. Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

The first thing that strikes everyone who comes into the Christian life is that it is entirely different from one’s former life. You must determine to take your stand with Jesus Christ, and when others tempt you, say: “I cannot betray my Lord. I am bound to Him for all eternity. My feet are shod and I am not moving.” You have to know what you believe and be resolute and determined to stand for it—come what may. If I had not done this in the days following my conversion to Christ, then I would have forfeited an adventure that has taken me deeper and deeper into God.

Prayer

O God, how can I have faith in You unless I have faith in the words You have spoken to me in the Bible? Help me stand firm in the faith—today and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Gl 5:1-13; Php 1:27; 1Pt 5:7-11

What did Paul say to the Galatians?

How should we conduct ourselves?

A Second Time

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:Jonah 3:1

Jonah didn’t like the assignment God gave him. God directed him to leave his homeland and go to the enemy city of Nineveh, a hostile and evil center of idol worship. There Jonah was to warn the people of God’s impending judgment and urge them to repent. The Hebrews hated the people of Nineveh, so the rebellious prophet fled in the opposite direction, hoping for a different word from God that was more to his liking. Instead, God was determined that his word to Jonah would be obeyed (Isa. 55:11). He spoke to Jonah again. His second message was the same as the first. However, during the interval, Jonah had been buffeted by storms and had traveled in the stomach of a fish for three days. This time, he was prepared to hear God again and do His bidding.

God also spoke to the prophet Jeremiah two times (Jer. 33:1–3). But Jeremiah accepted God’s word to him the first time. The second time God spoke to him was to give him a fuller revelation of what He had first told him.

What God says to us next will depend on how we responded to His previous word to us. If, like Jonah, we disobeyed His earlier instructions, God will give them a second time. If we obeyed His first directive, as Jeremiah did, He will give us a fresh and deeper expression of His will (Matt. 25:23).

If you have not received a fresh word from God, return to the last thing God told you and examine your obedience. Is the Lord still waiting for your obedience? Seek to be like Jeremiah, and properly respond to your Lord’s instructions the first time.