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?