Lay Aside the Old Self

Dear Reading Friend, there is a solution to living in bondage to fear, worry and anxiety.

“…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24

God’s desire is that you understand that as you put away from you (put off, throw aside, strip away) the desires of your old way of life (worry, anxiety) because the more you indulge that aspect of your flesh the stronger and stronger it becomes! The more the flesh is fed the hungrier and more demanding it gets.

An example I thought of is this: Animals don’t have souls, but they do have a will as is evident by their ability to listen or ignore you. We have 2 dogs and one of them (Skittles) was snuck table scraps by our eldest son while he was living at home. Skittles got used to having her way at her own personal mealtime because her desires were being fulfilled. It became habit for her to get the extra food and she was none too happy when we cut her off! She was used to being indulged and her desires were very strong! If we would let her at the table even to this day, she would eat everything in front of her! When she was no longer allowed to have scraps she revealed her desires and will to us by begging, whining, jumping around to be noticed and being a general nuisance.

While we are physically and spiritually vastly different from Skittles, our desires don’t lie down any better than hers do. When you deny the flesh it is going to rise up and remind you it is there! The temptation to return to worry and anxiety will be very strong and you may be very tempted to succumb to them. You may find yourself back in the worry/anxiety cycle without immediately realizing you have done it. In that case you must grab a hold of your thoughts- taking every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and fight to keep the flesh at bay.

This living as an over comer cannot be corrected by what I call white knuckle flying. You cannot just determine to stop this behavior because it is a spiritual issue! Paul said in Eph. 6:10 that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. He then outlines our defensive and offensive weapons for battles such as these. Please notice in this passage the parts of your body that this armor of God covers:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Your battle is primarily a spiritual one!

More on the power of prayer next time.