January 31, 2004
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
Putting On The Word
by Jack Northart
Recently, I began a new eating program that has its benefits in weight loss and a healthier life style. Since I began this program, I have found that I feel better and “lighter” with each passing day. So much so that I feel that I have made enormous strides every time I step on a scale to check my new weight. At times, I begin to think that I am almost where I want to be in accomplishing my weight goals, even though I am not even close. But the thought crosses my mind that it can’t get any better than this. But it does. This way of thinking is not good to have, because the thought of quitting starts to develop and the old way of eating starts to creep in. The same could be said about the renewed mind and the old man nature.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation [behavior] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
You have probably heard the expression called “behavioral change,” especially when it comes to dieting. It’s a change in lifestyle. It is changing from the old ways of thinking and acting about food, to a new way of thinking and acting. It is changing what we feed our physical bodies. We start eating healthier foods. The same is true for walking according to the new nature of Christ in you. The first step is putting off the old way of thinking and acting, and putting on the new man; the new way of thinking and acting according to the revealed Word of God. It’s changing what we feed our minds. Instead of the old diet of doubt, worry and fear, we feed it the greatness of the Word of God.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Let’s say we begin to renew our minds and we start to see God do some wonderful things for us that he has promised in His Word. We may begin to think, “boy, it can’t get any better than this!” At times, we as Christians may feel like we are going to explode with the joy that is inside of us. So we get fooled into thinking that we can get by with just a little bit of the old man nature. This way of thinking is not good to have, because it eventually leads to becoming a spiritual “fat head,” which leads to spiritual weakness and inability.
How do we put off the old man or the old way of thinking and doing things? If God tells us in His Word to do something, He will also tell us HOW to do it. The first part of this next verse tells us how to “put off” and the second part tells us how and what to “put on.”
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
We put off the old man nature of lying. We don’t pray to God about it, we just do it! Furthermore, we are to put on the new man by speaking every man truth with his neighbor.
Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
We are to “bury the hatchet” at sundown. We don’t stay mad at someone or about something for forty days and forty nights. Neither do we give place to the devil, because if we do, he’ll be more than accommodating and take it.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
We are to work, so as to be able to give to him that has need. If we are capable of working, then that is what we should be doing. We don’t mooch off of other believers. We work, we believe, we then have so that we may be able to give.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Corrupt communication has to stop coming out of our mouths. It’s corrupt because it tears down and is foul to those who hear it. It’s contrary to the truth of God’s Word. Being negative and confessing the negatives that are in our head could fall under this category. To the contrary, we are to speak that which is edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
The context of this section of God’s Word is about “putting off the old man nature and putting on the new man nature.” To grieve the holy spirit of God would be to not do these things that we have just read about. It would be to walk contrary to God’s instructions here.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
“Bitterness” means to be extremely mean or wicked. It is like having a constantly angry attitude for everybody. You are the only right person and everybody else is wrong. “Wrath” is like venom, it pollutes the mind. To “clamour” is to make a scene by vocal expression and to set things in an uproar. “Evil speaking” is slanderous or blasphemous speech. To the contrary we are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Of course, it is so much easier to be bitter against someone, if they have wronged us in some way. Perhaps they wrecked our car and could not pay for repairs. Perhaps they kept some money that they owed us. Maybe they did something hurtful to us. It is so easy to stay bitter against them for so many good reasons, right? WRONG! God says, FORGIVE. When we stop to think what God in Christ forgave us for, then it is much easier to forgive others.
The ability to arrive at an intelligent decision between putting off the old man and putting on the new man, takes a knowledge of God’s Word. It takes discipline to determine what you will think about. The power to determine what you will think about and what you will not think about is a valuable aid in resisting temptation. It is difficult to have bitterness and wrath and anger when we are thankful for what God has done for us. Therefore, thankfulness is a great place to start when dealing with forgiveness of someone else.
Colossians 2: 6,7
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Take knowledge of yourself and what God’s Word says about you now that you are a believer. Know where you are and redirect yourself to a fuller life by putting off the old man, and putting on the new.
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