“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Eph 4:22
Do you ever find yourself at odds with your spouse with a sizeable lack of peace between the two of you? Maybe some of you are there right now. Kristal and I have certainly found ourselves in that place plenty of times. In fact, I have written about one such time in a prior blog post. Would you believe me if I told you it’s possible to live with the complete absence of strife and discord in your marriage? What if I told you it’s possible to love your spouse with the complete and pure agape love of God always, at all times, no matter what. Would you believe that? I won’t lie and tell you I’m currently living in that place. But I do know it is possible and I want to get there, and because of that desire in my heart I know Kristal and I will come to that place, praise God. You can as well. Maybe you already are, and if so, thank God for it!
For those that aren’t, how do we get to that place? The answer is a word that is consistently coming up in conversations Kristal and I have with one another, and others we talk to: transformation. Ephesians describes the process as putting off the old man, and putting on the new man. Through this process of transformation and having our minds renewed, we are literally transformed into this new man (gender aside), that bears the very image of Jesus Christ Himself. (2 Cor 3:18). You see, the Bible says that when you were born-again, your “old man” which is your old sin nature originated through the fall of Adam, and inherited by all who have ever been born since except for Jesus, died in Jesus Christ. The old you was crucified with Jesus! Spiritually, you were reborn with a righteous and holy nature created in the image of Jesus Christ. This is what “after God” means in Ephesians 4:24. God didn’t give you a somewhat lesser holiness or righteousness than who He is. No, because of His great love for you, He restored you back to the same holy and righteous nature that He, Himself possesses! Colossians describes the new nature within you as Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)
Now, note that Eph 4:24 says that we are to put on the new man. It isn’t automatic, nor does God do it for us without our cooperation, as nice as we think that might be. He does not control us like robots and cause this to happen for a select few, but not for others. Rather, He instructs all born again believers to put the new man on. What He is essentially telling us is to walk and live in our newfound righteousness, to yield to our new Christ-like nature. It isn’t “works” and it isn’t about discipline or effort. This transformation process begins with having our minds renewed to the truth of who God is, and who we are in Him. It’s about having a right identity that is empowered by grace. We must accept and believe the identity that we have been given in Jesus Christ and what the Word of God has declared about us. We put off the old man because that is not who we are anymore, nor who we desire to be. We are new creatures in Christ. We are God’s workmanship. We are God’s children that have been born from above. As we spend time in prayer and fellowship with God, meditating the Word and worshipping Him privately as well as publicly, we are strengthened by His grace to walk in the spirit. And the Word tells us that if we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, which is anything contrary to the nature and character of God.
If you want your marriage to be new, or renewed, start with yourself in putting on the new man. Spend time with the Father and in His Word. If you have any hidden sin, humbly confess it to Him and receive His washing , cleansing and forgiveness, and ask your spouse for forgiveness as well if you need to do that. Thank Him for cleansing you from sin and giving you a clean and a pure heart. Let what He has said in His Word about who you are as His child sink deep into your heart. Pray in the spirit and meditate in His Word. Let the Father’s love for you compel you even further into his presence. I can tell you from my own experience, that when I walk according to the life of Christ that is within me, rather than obeying my emotions or selfish thoughts or opinions that don’t line up with the character of Christ, that there is much more peace, love and unity between Kristal and I. I’m sure she would say the same. Anytime I choose the flesh, the result is far different. Again, it is about transformation. I believe the Father’s desire for all of us is that we put the new man on, and leave him on. He never intended for us to put him on and take him off like a set of clothes, according to the circumstances or how we feel. I encourage you today to study your Word and ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you what it says about who you are in Christ Jesus, the new man within you. Pursue the Father and put on the new man. The effect will be visible not just in your marriage, but in your entire life.
Blessings in Jesus,