Twenty-five years ago, I lost a bunch of weight. It took about six months, hard work, dogged determination, and the help of supportive friends and family. In the end, it felt good. Real good.
Except none of my clothes fit. I had to acquire a new wardrobe. The old clothes, although once comfy and satisfactory, now looked dumpy and strange on me. It was like those items didn’t really belong to me anymore. I had to get rid of the old pants and buy new ones. It was exciting! The thrill of trying on clothes that fit the slimmer me was wonderful.
This is what happens when we find new life in Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that the old has passed away, and all things are new (2 Cor. 5:17). That process is much different than losing weight. When we come to Jesus in repentance and faith, we don’t do the work—He does. He transforms us.
There is still a choice, however, regarding that old self. Just like my too-big clothes, we can decide to keep wearing that old identity—even though it doesn’t fit us anymore, it’s completely out of place, and it’s not what God desires for us.
That old stuff is just not who we are anymore.
That’s why, in Ephesians, Paul urges us to lay aside the old self—with all its weaknesses and problems and ill-fitting sin—and put on the new self. The transformation has already taken place in our hearts by the grace of God. But it’s time for a wardrobe makeover.
We should be thrilled! Imagine: God, through our Lord Jesus, has provided for us a new identity. A new life. We don’t have to wear that old self but can choose to put on His new life, created in Christ.
So go ahead. Get dressed. It’s going to be a good day!
Dr. Stanley talks about the difference between our old and new lives in his message, “Laying Aside the Old Self,” airing today on radio.