Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT
We have an “old sinful nature” which was our “former way of life” before we committed our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. That nature is “corrupted by lust and deception.” It is a nature that is controlled by the flesh that wants instant pleasure and then deceives others to get what it wants.
Instead of living a life controlled by lust and deception, Paul invites us to “let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Look at the fact Paul does not say anything about our behavior. He tells us to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes.
There have always been legalists who want to tell us the way to please God is by obeying a list of laws. The list deals with our dress and our actions. I remember a time when I felt compelled to discipline my actions and appearance to look the part of being a follower of Jesus. But on the inside, I was a mess. There were times I felt like I was an actor playing a part that wasn’t real.
God’s way of transforming our lives is not from the outside with a list of rules. God’s transformation starts on the inside. It’s an inside job. He puts the Holy Spirit inside of us to change our thoughts and attitudes. We begin to think differently—instead of putting ourselves first, we begin to see the value of putting others first. This changes our attitudes from pride and selfishness.
Once our thinking and attitudes are in alignment with God, our actions change. We may even change our dress, our way of talking, and our entire life because we think differently.
I remember when the inner transformation began to happen in my life. I began to actually fall in love with Jesus. I wanted to please Jesus because I saw what He had done for me in dying for my sins. My motivation to be different was out of love, not law. It moved from fear to friendship.
Holy Spirit, thanks for living in me. Thanks for being my Teacher and Guide to bring me into a full relationship with God.
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