Spiritual development: nurture your new nature

When I surrendered my life to Jesus a lot of things changed:

  • Pre-Christ I had such low self-esteem I could not make eye contact when talking with people.
  • Post-Christ I am a leader and draw energy from speaking not just to one, but hundreds of people at the same time.
  • Pre-Christ I tried to kill myself.
  • Post-Christ I’m working hard to be healthy so I can live longer.
  • Pre-Christ I wanted to hurt people.
  • Post-Christ I want to heal people.

And the list goes on and on…

While much has changed, there are some things that haven’t changed, or at least they haven’t changed as fast as I would like them too.

For instance, anger is something that I pray about a lot and seem to continually struggle against.

My struggle against anger (or any other sin for that matter) usually looks like this:

ANGER EXPLOSION — Paul tries harder not to get angry — Paul fails — Paul feels bad — Paul tries harder — another ANGER EXPLOSION — Paul tries even harder —

A couple of mornings ago I had a meeting with St. Paul, while I was reading the Bible, and he said these things:

now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (Colossians 3:9-11)

Basically he said, “Nurture your new nature!”

When we give our lives to Jesus, He gives us a new nature:

those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

So how do I nurture this new nature and how will it resolve the anger issue (or whatever the sin happens to be)?

A few ideas from St. Paul (taken from Colossians 3):

  • Think about God more and the “anger points” around me less
    • Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
  • Walk away from things that will tempt me (or if necessary… run!)
    • …put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. (Colossians 3:5-9)
  • Every day, as often as necessary, make the decision to love and forgive other people
    • Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)
  • Saturate my mind and heart with Scripture and share it with others
    • Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:16-17)

So there it is… nurture your new nature. That’s what I’m going to be doing over these next few weeks and we’ll see how God works on that anger thing!

How about you? What are you doing to address the sin in your life?

4 thoughts on “Spiritual development: nurture your new nature

  1. I hit a wall this week (no not literally)
    I have been dealing with self- doubt
    The key word is SELF. As I muddle in my thinking of how I think things should be and how mistreated I am
    in this world…. I heard on the radio:

    Remember who you were before you accepted Christ!

    I thought of the transfermation………..
    A scary thought came,,, what would I be like now if I did not encounter this life changing miracle?

    A few moments later I was humbled and ever so grateful for the touch of the King upon my life.

    I forgot about injustices, I became more aware that everything that I have is a gift. My talents and skills were given to me, I didn’t deserve any thing good yet God has so richly blessed me.

    My nature———Yikes

    His nurture——– beyond measure!!!!

  2. Paul;
    I really appreciate this post. Even now the Word is speaking to my heart. I really have a hard time getting up to spend time with God, but I am reminded that the morning time of “being transformed by the renewing of my mind” is giving the Holy Spirit leverage to work in my life, thus conquering sin. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Paul, we all deal with things in our lives that we are trying to “completely” turn over to Christ and the intention is there yet we still humanly “pull-it-back” But I love what you have offered up to help to lead us in our everyday dealings with our problems. I do have a problem of dealing with fear—Wanting to understand all that I go through and why —immediately–Then fear sets in that all is about to bottom out. BUt guess what it never does…God just shines through and shows his will–Yet I never seem to be able to let my fear go and leave it all in Gods hands…I am trying and praying. Thanks for the great post!!!!

  4. Hey Paul great post. I just wanted to share some thoughts about how God has dealt with the sins I struggled with.

    I also struggle with anger along with pride and purity of mind. This verse has forever changed my life and has given me great victory over these besetting monsters.

    Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    When Jesus picked up His cross he knew that He was going to His death. He was willing to lay down His wants, rights, preferences and dreams so that the will of the Father could be lived out through Him.
    I have heard over the years several people talking about trying to figure out what thier cross was, the thing in thier life that they needed to bear. But the cross is the cross!
    When Jesus said pick up your cross he meant the cross. The instrument of execution that brings death to the flesh. Jesus called all of His disciples to deny themselves, thier wants, thier rights, and believe it or not maybe even the American dream, and follow Him so that HIS will can be lived out through our lives.

    In my life it looks like this…
    I want so badly to live out this life that I’ve been called too in Christ and bear much fruit for the Kingdom, but I have a proven track record of try and fail and try and fail.
    In order to get victory over these sins that had me on the edge of giving up I have to get on my knees every morning and lay them at His feet. I pray “Lord I Love you and want this day to be lived soley for You and Your glory. You know that when I try …I fail, but I know that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can have victory over these sins. Help me today to Die to the wants of my flesh so that you can live and do your will through me.”

    I can’t begin to tell you the difference this has brought to my life. The sins that once seemed to have free reign in my life now barely raise their heads. As I die to my flesh and allow Jesus to live through me, the sins that once had a strong hold have become but a vapor.

    We can’t do it in our own strength, but we can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
    Determine in your heart that everyday you will deny yourself, ( Die to your wants) pick up your cross and follow Jesus.

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