Things I Do No More?
( By Carlton Foster – October 18, 2000)
I was baptized: washed in the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus. I am a new person: walking in the newness of life — Christian life. But there are things that I still do. A change comes over me, but I am not changed because I am still doing the same things. Was I really change? What is the change? Paul said, “We were therefore buried with him (Jesus Christ) through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Rom 6:4).” We should live a new life just as Paul illustrated.
The Webster’s II, New Riverside Dictionary defines change as “To make or become different.” If we should be different, then why are the same bad attitudes that we had before we were baptized still follows us? Paul continues to say. “… we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been freed from sin (Rom 6:6).” When we baptized we said we went down into the watery grave which signifies that our mind (body) was dead to sin. Thus we are free from the bad attitudes that make us sin. If we believe this then we are justified, but if not, we are fooling ourselves. Paul cautioned us. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6:12-13).” What are the parts of the body we still offer to sin?
List of old habits
A. “I resent a stingy escort. Wherever I go, I like to travel first class.” This was the old way of thinking, but when you are changed, you should say. “I love to be in the company of the poor and unfortunate. I like to travel as lowly and meekly as possible.” This will exemplify the words of Jesus. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Mat 5:5).” And in Proverb 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. “We must take away self and focuses our life – the fruit of the spirit — to others.
B. “I have little patience for those who don’t measure up or leave me feeling short-changed.” Solomon has many councils about these attitudes. He said. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense (Prov 19:11).” Patience is one of the qualities of a newborn Christian. Little patience is a quality of a sinner. Paul said. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22).”
C. “I am overly critical and exacting.” To be overly critical and exacting can cause us to be blind. Jesus said. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. (Mat 7:1-3).” Those who are overly critical are unable to see their faults. They are quick to see the shortcomings that others have, but theirs are hidden. Paul said. “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s Judgment? (Rom 2:3)”
D. “I see deep into other people’s motivations while remaining impenetrable to their probing.” What should our motivations as a Christian be? Is it to hear and tell the testimony of others while our own testimony is a deep secret? The Lord said to David, “Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. (Ps 101:5).” We might remain impenetrable to the probing of others, hiding our deep secret, but the Lord sees and knows all. He said, “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? (Jer 23:24)”
E. “I am stubborn about getting my way.” Stubbornness often results in rebelliousness. A Christian who is changed listens. We open our ears to sound doctrine and good advice. We should not try to get our way all the time. The Lord said to David, “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices (Ps 81:11).” People who are stubborn are often left to their own ways. God said, “Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away (Isa 46:12-13).” Stubbornness is not a quality of a Christian. We should be adaptable to changing circumstances. Meekness or flexible should be some of the qualities we seek, anything else will meet God’s wrath. Paul said, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath when his righteous judgment will be revealed (Rom 2:5).”
F. “I am very emotional, and if frustrated, I can be very vengeful and destructive. If I am betrayed, you’ll be my most dangerous enemy.”
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. “