Put on your new nature

by Larry Hehn on December 10, 2013

butterflyEarlier this year we renovated our bathroom.

The old shower head hung less than 6′ above the base of the tub. It wasn’t a problem for my wife, who fit comfortably underneath it. But I always had to crouch in the shower to keep my head from smashing into the low-hanging plumbing.

One of the first changes we made was to raise the shower head to 7′ high so I wouldn’t have to duck anymore.

The change has been liberating, to say the least.

I can now stand up straight and still have several inches of clearance between me and the shower head. Gone are the threats of bruises on my forehead and the need for sloppy posture.

But still, a few days ago, I caught myself crouching in the shower again.

I had fallen back into my old conditioning.

Even though the shower head is now well out of harm’s way and there’s no need for me to duck, I unconsciously went back to my old habit.

Yes, even when there’s no good reason to go there, sometimes we slip back into auto-pilot and find ourselves in a familiar rut.

In his letters, Paul had to remind the Colossians and Ephesians to “put on your new nature” – so they didn’t slip back into the old.

So don’t be surprised or discouraged if you catch yourself slumping back into your old default mode. Know that it’s a conscious, Spirit-led decision to put on your new nature and leave the old behind.

As John White says in The Fight, “Transformation is not an overnight matter. It takes a lifetime.”

Stand up tall, and put on your new nature.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. – Colossians 3:10

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

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:21-25a

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. – Romans 8:12-13

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Caleb Suko December 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

It is amazing how often I am tempted to slink back into the habits of the old nature. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that it is even happening. It’s usually my wife who notices and gives me a good kick in the rear so I’ll stand up straight and tall in the strength of the Lord again.

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Larry Hehn December 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

It’s good to have someone we know and trust to help keep us on track when we go a bit sideways!

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Carol H. Rives December 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Perfect analogy, Larry! It’s so easy to feel as though you have things set straight, and then realize that, oops…. not so straight. At least we can keep ourselves in check. Your words are always very encouraging, but these are more so… at this time. Thanks!
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Larry Hehn December 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Thank you for your encouragement, Carol. I’m glad to hear that these posts are helpful. Blessings!

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Jess December 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Keep writing my friend, you have a way with words. I’ve always appreciated how you take even the simplest of life situations and use them to show a powerful truth.

PS You’ve inspired me to start growing my first full beard. I’ve dabbled with a Lincolnesque/Amish chinstrap for a couple years, but I feel that now is the time for more.
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Larry Hehn December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Jess. I wish you every success with your beard. Happy growing!

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Rick December 18, 2013 at 2:59 am

Larry, have you been reading my mail again or what? 🙂

My wake-up call happened well in advance of me even getting close to bending my elbow – that’s God’s work in and on me. Transformation takes time, indeed – it likely won’t be complete this side of heaven – so best if I find out what patience and perseverance I have works.

Thanks for the post!
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Larry Hehn December 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I figure that as long as there is room to learn and grow – and there always will be – we’ll never grow “old”. Many thanks, Rick!

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Stephen Haggerty December 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

Great thoughts and analogy, my friend! Thanks for taking us deep.

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Larry Hehn December 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I’m often amazed at how/when these analogies just seem to find me. When they resonate with my friends, it makes things even better. Thank you for stopping by, Stephen!

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Shelley January 1, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I find it so easy to fall back into old habits and behaviours. I think part of the reason is that the old ways are “comfortable” – even if they aren’t the best habits or behaviours to display, and part of it is losing the focus and not being on top of what’s happening (i.e. keeping up with the new behaviour/habit). I suppose it does depend on what the habit/behaviour is, and there are no doubt some that are easy to keep on top of than others. But the new habit/behaviour needs at least 30 days consistency in order for it to stick – or at least that’s what I’ve read/heard.
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Larry Hehn January 3, 2014 at 12:05 am

One of my favorite Bible stories is when Jesus appears to the disciples after his crucifixion. No doubt discouraged, Peter has gone back to his old way of life – fishing. Jesus asks him three times, “Do you love me?” Peter replies three times, “You know I love you.” Jesus then calls him to “Feed my sheep.” Even though he denied Jesus three times and likely felt unfit to do anything beyond his familiar comfort zone, Jesus reminded Peter of his true calling. I draw encouragement from that – that however much we’ve messed up, we are still called to our new nature.

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