Wednesday, 27 December 2017

I am New. Ephesians 4:24 by Susan L.

  "And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." NKJV
  "Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy." JCB

  I have always loved this passage because of the idea of putting on a new man. Or woman in this case. It speaks of God's grace in action. It speaks of His gentle way. It speaks about our own place in a relationship with Jesus.
  Yet...I wonder...Is the new man actually the one God predestined us to be? New to us but familiar to God?

  I find the story of Lazarus partners this scripture nicely. When Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, when He called him back to life, Jesus asked those gathered to remove his grave cloths.
  To find the new man, we must remove the grave cloths (or have others help us) that keep us from living true to the life God has blessed us with.
  What are grave cloths made of? The spiritual ones that cloak our true selves?

  Lies.
  Shame.
  Guilt.
  Blame.
  Generations of half truths or misconceptions disguised as truth silently, or not so silently, handed down from father to son, mother to daughter. (Lord forgive me for doing the same.)
  There's cultural influences in there, too. Hmm, there's a lot of those. Simply living in a patriarchal society has had an impact on my own understanding of womanly worth. (Forgive me for perpetrating those ideas, too.)

  Grave cloths are layered. Some cover our hearts. Or hands. Or minds.
  I imagine Lazarus had to squint a bit in the brilliant sun once his eyes were unwrapped. Was Jesus the first person he saw clearly? Can you imagine his joy?
  I often wonder how this experience changed Lazarus. Did he become kinder? More loving? More forgiving? More hopeful? More dedicated to Jesus? To God? Did he put on a new man following his rebirth from the grave?
  Questions, questions and more questions!

  I give thanks, Lord, that putting on the new man is an ongoing process. Teach me to wear her well so I may glorify You. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN!
 

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