I love the Fall.
Well...I love as much of the Autumn season that Southern California can bring. And, depsite our average weather staying steady at the mid-70s range, there are some noticable changes when we temporarily say, "Goodbye" to the Summer.
The greens slowly shift to yellow and orange. The air begins to moisten a little bit. And the sounds of nature become a tad bit more muted.
It's beautiful and it's necessary.
Change is a part of life and it's a part of our human fabric. We're constantly changing. Whether it's our hair color or our diet and whether it's our clothing style or our taste in food, regeneration is a part of who we are.
Change, however, true change is only possible when the old self dies making way for our new selves to maturate.
When we do make steps toward change, many of us still struggle with allowing these changes to take shape. We struggle, mainly in part, because we choose to hold on to the very thing we're trying to change from. It becomes next to impossible for our new selves to flourish because our old selves are constantly pulling the new down. And, whenever we experience strides toward transformation, we're easily pulled a million steps back because of the old that seems to automatically take over.
The Apostle Paul addresses this very dichotomy in his letter to the church in Colossai.
He says, in Chapter 3...
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these:anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 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. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Followers of Jesus are supposed to exhibit characteristics like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Christians are supposed to be forgiving and loving. Godly people are supposed to be generous and welcoming. Those who claim allegience to Christ are supposed to be lights in this darkened world.
The problem, however, is people's inability or lack of willinness to, as Paul says, "rid" ourselves of the things that used to shape who we once were. We can not be the godly people that Jesus calls us to be if we continually refuse to turn away from the very things we're trying to change from.
And that kind of change requires work. It requries hard work.
What begins to happen is we'll experience seasons of goodness. We'll be more compassionate. We'll be more loving. We'll even be a little bit more generous. But the moment our old self peaks its ugly head out of the dirt, these godly characteristics are easily turned upside down and we're right back where we started.
Theoretically...our old selves died and we need to leave them in the grave. If we want the newness of Christ to fully move us toward redemption, then we need to stop unearthing the old lives that God buried.
*Please note that the writings expressed in our blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions and position of The Branch, but are the thoughts of each individual writer.