The Bible teaches us that once you are saved, you are a new creation in Christ. Once lost, now you are found. Once a slave, now you are free. And once dead in your sin, now you are alive in Christ. We know that we are supposed to put our past selves behind us (Ephesians 4:22), but how is that possible in a world that is constantly tempting us and reminding us of who we used to be? How do you leave your old self behind?
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Know who you used to be…
Now it may go without saying, but one of the best ways to understand the new you is to fully recognize the old you. In order to understand the fact that you are now alive in Christ, you have to realize the fact that you were once dead in your sin. In order to understand that you are set free in Jesus’ name, you have to grasp the fact that you were once in slavery. It is when we completely comprehend who we used to be before Christ, that we can understand all that His sacrifice made possible for us.
…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. – Romans 6:6-7
Recognize the fact that Jesus died to make you new…
While it is important for us to understand who we used to be, it is also equally important that we don’t continue to live as if nothing has changed. Jesus did not die on a cross so that you and I could continue to live in shame, guilt, and sin. He died so that we could become children of God. He longs to make us new… so much so that He died to make it possible. Your new identity in Christ matters!
Resist the devil and his lies…
The process of learning to walk in your new identity is just that… a process. It takes times and practice as we learn to daily take off our old selves and put on our new selves in Christ. During this time, the enemy loves to distract us with his lies. He wants you to live as if nothing has changed. He wants you to embrace who you used to be instead of who you are now.
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. – Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
Stop declaring your old identity and begin declaring your new one…
When a prisoner is set free, he has two choices. He can continue to live his life as a prisoner or embrace his newfound freedom and pursue all that life has to offer. As Believers, we have the same two choices. We can wallow in guilt and shame over our past mistakes, or we can embrace God’s forgiveness and grace. We can continue to live in sin even though we’ve been set free from its power, or we can live by the Spirit and follow His lead in obedience.
When you think or speak about yourself, do you declare your new identity in Christ? Or do you continue to think of yourself as lost in your sin? Yes, you will still make mistakes from time to time. But you are NOT lost in sin anymore. You have been found in Christ Jesus. You are His beloved child… now and forever.
In order to embrace your new life in Christ, you must leave your old self behind.
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.