OLD AND NEW
"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."
Fairly early in the spring, after I became convinced that there wouldn't be any more freezes, I used to go out and put stuff on my lawn that would kill the weeds, stimulate the growth of new grass, and strengthen the root system of the old grass. Wow! That sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? It only took that stuff a few days to work. Then do you know what I would see when I’d look outside? I'd see brown where there used to be green. I'd see bare spots where there weren’t bare spots before. Honestly the lawn looked worse than it did before I “fixed” it! . . . and the stuff wasn’t cheap! Before my treatment I would mow everything that was green and, when I was done, it looked pretty good from a distance. A week after the treatment you couldn't get far enough away for it to look good.
You might wonder why am I telling you all this. Answer: because there is an object lesson in it, of course. You see, I had a good reason for all the chemical destruction of weed-life; I had a larger purpose for the temporary ugliness. And God, who is much wiser than I am, sometimes brings temporary ugliness into our lives for the same kind of good reasons. Let's think about it . . .
New grass needs room. It is small and tender and it can’t grow in the middle of a weed patch! The weeds choke it out before it ever gets a chance to grow – the weeds have roots that go deeper and draw out all the water and they have leaves that reach higher and block out all the sunlight. Our lives tend to become a little like a weed patch at times; they can get so cluttered up with worldly stuff that there isn’t room for the good spiritual stuff. We can get so distracted that we don't even hear the sweet Word of God. We can be so busy that we don't have time to rest in His arms. So the Lord takes on the role of the gardener; He begins to trim away the unproductive unhelpful stuff in order to make a little “space” in us for something beautiful and helpful and godly to grow.
Sometimes we miss that stuff at first. Like the weeds in the lawn, they made us feel comfortable and they don’t look bad if you don’t look too closely. But you know what? God won’t pour new life into our old wineskin, and He looks very closely – right into your heart. Consider the verses at the top of the page; they explain the way God goes about making us beautiful in His eyes; the way He turns us into the kind of people who please Him. It is a three-step process:
1) Put off the old self which is corrupted.
2) Get a new heart attitude.
3) Put on the new self which is righteous and holy.
It is kind of like: Get rid of the weeds, restore the soil, and then grow good grass in their place. You can get the lawn stuff from Lowe’s, Home Depot or from other fine merchants, but you can only get the life stuff from the true and living God.
Here's to greener grass and holier lives!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews