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 4:22, 24). 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.
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.
The word live in Ephesians 4:17 (“you must no longer live as the Gentiles do”) is a key word in Ephesians, especially in chapters 4–6. It’s a translation of the Greek word peripateō. Literally, the word means “to walk,” “to tread all around.” Figuratively speaking, what’s in view is one’s conduct or manner of living. Ephesians 2 speaks of the “before Christ” manner of life of believers in Jesus: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live” (vv. 1–2). As believers in Jesus, our lives are to match our calling (4:1). Paul’s positive encouragement continues: “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us” (5:2); “for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (v. 8); and “be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise” (v. 15).