Summary: This message taken from chapter 5 of my published book, "Our Spiritual Walk" deals with the preparations we make for our daily spiritual walk in Christ.
Our Spiritual Walk #3
Putting off and Putting on
CHCC – June 22, 2014
For the last few years, I have developed a habit of taking at least a 30 minute walk almost every morning. Sometimes I will use a treadmill we have set up in our bedroom and watch Andy Stanley or Joyce Meyer while I walk (those are both motivational type preachers). On other days I set out to take a 30 minute walk around our neighborhood while listening to some kind of Christian podcast. It’s a good way to get ready for the day physically and spiritually.
Whether I’m walking inside or out, there are two things I do to get ready: First, I take off my sleeping clothes; second, I put on my walking outfit. Spiritually speaking, we also need to take off and put on before we set of walking. That’s what we’re going to talk about today --- what do we need to put off and what do we need to put on every day if we’re going to Walk with Christ.
1. Putting Off
Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The first thing to do in preparation for our Spiritual Walk is to …
(a) Put off your old self. Why? Because our old self is continually being corrupted by its deceitful desires. In Christ we are NEW CREATIONS … and our OLD SELF just doesn’t fit us anymore.
In the last two years I have lost about 60 pounds by changing my diet and my activities (hence the 30 minute walk). Guess what I was glad to get rid of as soon as I could? --- those clothes that used to fit the OLD me but that no longer fit the NEW me! I have no use for that old wardrobe … even though most of those clothes were decent quality clothes. They just don’t fit the man I am now.
That’s why we put off the Old Self. The Old You may still look good … and it’s what you’re used to … but the OLD SELF doesn’t fit the NEW SELF you have become in Christ. It’s not going to feel right if you try walking in it.
The Apostle Paul gives a list of some specific behaviors that show you are still wearing the Old Self. His list included falsehood (vs.25), anger that leads to sin and gives the devil a foothold (vs. 26-27), stealing (vs. 28), unwholesome talk (vs. 29), bitterness, rage and anger ( working together as a team), brawling and slander along with every form of malice (vs. 31). Any time we see even a hint of these things cropping up; we know we need to Put Off that Old Self that we’re still wearing.
(Did you notice that Paul brought up various versions of anger twice in this list?) There is also a similar list in Colossians 3:8 where, once again, Paul mentions anger, wrath, and malice, but he then adds “blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
Besides putting off the Old Self, we need to
(2) Throw off everything that hinders our walk with Christ. Hebrews 12:1: “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
You’ll notice this passage deals with a race, not just a walk. This might indicate the hard times that every Christian faces … times that require more spiritual energy and focus if we are going to win the race. The spiritual walk is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be times of walking and times of running.
We all understand the warning to eliminate the sin that so easily entangles. Most of us have enough experience to realize that ANY sin can trip us up. Any sin has the potential to enslave and addict us without warning.
But we also need to understand the warning to throw off everything that hinders. Have you ever seen a race where one of the runners wore a heavy back-pack? Of course not! And yet as Christians we often try to live life lugging around all kinds of unnecessary burdens … things that hinder us from walking with the Lord. These things may not be sinful in themselves but they make us too busy or too tired to spend time in prayer and Bible study.
Think about what is holding you back from a closer walk with Christ. Is it some kind of entertainment? A relationship that doesn’t draw you closer to God? An over-commitment to a job or a hobby? The Christian walk requires that we regularly Put Off the Old Self and THROW Off anything and everything that slows us down. When we’ve done that, then we’re ready for the …