when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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; Ephesians 4:21-23
One of the most difficult things I deal with as I grow closer to Christ is the attitudes of family. I guess it’s because as you shed the old self and put on the new in Christ, friends who don’t get you anymore drift away and life moves on, but family stays. You may not see them all the time, but you are bound to run into them on holidays or other special occasions. I have several who find it hard to understand or accept how my heart has changed and how Christ is working in my life. It has led to a few clashes that leave me hurt and disappointed. They still think of me as my “old self” and those memories clash with the “new self” that stands before them. They have no idea how to reconcile these differences in my life and respond in spite, judgment or anger. It is disheartening when others condemn your actions and take what was meant for kindness as flirting, love as weakness, joy as ignorance and your peace as suspicious. But, it also amazing to be in a situation like this and not (as my friend Kelly says) throw your friends grace and mercy out the door and give them a few choice words. Ladies and gentlemen, when grace and mercy prevail, that is NOT me! That is the Holy Spirit at work! Proof He is in this heart of mine whittling and working away to make it a better place.
I feel like I can relate a little to a reformed inmate or alcoholic. Their friends and family remember how they use to be and it will take time for to understand and see the change in them. The key is that those friends and family have to be willing to give them a chance and experience the change. As Christ followers we have to do this for others and pray they do the same for us. After a recent run-in with family in the “old self/new” battle I found myself questioning the motives of an acquaintance who had done something kind and was claiming it was for God’s Glory. This person had claimed this same thing many times before with selfish motives, but I immediately began to pray for God to cover me with His armor and send those demons of judgment running back to the pits of fire they deserve.
What is the world was wrong with me? Here I was on the hills of experiencing the hurt of judgment and condemnation and I was dishing it out to someone else. THAT is why we need God’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-20). Although we will never be perfect, He will convict us of our actions and feelings which brings repentance that gives us growth and peace. The closer we grow to Christ the more we sense Him and his convictions. Feelings or thoughts I use to ignore or move past after a few days or weeks ~ God now instantly brings to my attention and I pray without ceasing until His power overtakes them. The great news is . . . IT WORKS EVERY TIME! I pray you will find strength, peace and comfort in that your Lord is with you always and has overcome so you just “Go on, with your new self” and skip like a lamb when someone “cuts you down or throws you out.”
Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this. Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)
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