by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever seen before and after pictures? I think God loves before and after pictures. Do you know why I think that? Because throughout His Word, He tells us to put off this and that and to put on the new man within us. He talks about being made new. He talks about being transformed by His Spirit and Word. He then reminds us not to go back to the former way we were. In a sense, He tells us to put the picture of our new selves on the refrigerator to look at! Let's take a look and see if that isn't so.
Col 3:7-10 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must 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.
Eph 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.
James 1:21-25 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
God wants us to remove certain things from our life but in order to do so, we have to remember that God’s Holy Spirit - the power of God to help us - lives within us! The Holy Spirit helps us sensitize our spirit by showing us what is best for us and what is harmful for our lives according to the Word of God. We may at times feel condemned but I assure you God is not condemning you. God wants you to run to Him; not from Him. Jesus already died for you. There may be a feeling of conviction. That is the feeling we get when we recognize God wants to help us make changes. That’s a good thing. It means we are spiritually alive. Now He wants to help you and that is what the Holy Spirit does! As we pray and ask God, He helps our inward desires change and even feel disgust for what evil is in our lives. As desires change, change comes!
In the book of Galatians, one of the works of the flesh to put off is lasciviousness. It is not a well-known word but it is a very practiced sin. I believe it is Satan's greatest tool in this earth to draw men and women from God and back into sin.
Lasciviousness is the enticing and exciting of sexual desires – the creating of lust. People that read the Word of God come to understand that fornication - sex of any kind outside of marriage - is against God's will. People that read God's Word come to understand that adultery - sexual activity of a married person outside of their marriage is against God's will. What many people don't learn about or understand is the sin of lasciviousness - the enticing of one’s sexual desires. (Of course this does not include a husband or wife exciting each other.)
For men this usually has to do with visual and mental stimulation from sexual things. Satan, who the Bible says is the god of this world, (2 Cor. 4:4) understands the power of enticing men visually and mentally and that is why the advertising industry creates sexual ads continuously. They try to entice men to lust! That’s why pornography is one of the greatest problems amongst men today. Sexual imagines literally burn an image in the mind like photographic imagines caught on paper. That's why people can go back in their mind to those sexual images over and over again. Men are stimulated by those sexual imagines and Satan uses them to pervert and degrade our thinking and draw us to ungodly behavior – with the goal of ultimately condemning us so that we will feel ashamed and run from God out of condemnation and an overwhelming sense of guilt.
For women in general, the images are not as seducing as the romantic thoughts. That's why romance novels, soap operas, and romantic movies or shows are so popular amongst women. Women are more geared to fantasize romantically and men are more visually stimulated.
These things are designed to lead you away from God's best. God wants us to purify our minds and thoughts and put off things that defile them. Only faith in the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and prayer to help us change will produce those godly changes we so desire. Our relationship with God and His uninterrupted blessing are too precious to let escape or trade for vile and short-term fleshly pleasure.
As Col 3:10 says,”... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." God is turning us into a beautiful after picture. So let’s let Him do it in us. Put on that new man which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2012 All rights reserved