Let's Back Up: Still Renovating?

December 21, 2021

A couple of months ago I presented a devotional on renovations, using the example of renovating our house to illustrate the renovating that the Holy Spirit of God wants to do in our lives.  

I want to back up to that topic again, and zero in on one particular aspect of it that I think we in the evangelical church neglect too often.  The aspect I’m talking about here is the ‘putting off’ of the old man while we are ‘putting on’ Christ.  

Let’s think again about the house renovations.  If you go to Home Depot and get some great looking laminate flooring for your living room, do you then take it home and start laying it on top of your 1980’s orange shag carpet?   Well, you could, and in some ways it might look better.   But for your new flooring to be what it’s meant to be, you need to rip out that old carpet first.   Or you get some great looking paint from Lowe’s for your dining room walls, do you paint right over the existing 1970’s dark wood paneling?

OK, you get my point.   When renovating certain aspects of our homes, to do it right we need to tear out the old or the new won’t be done right.   In a similar way, we need to regularly partner with the Holy Spirit to allow Him to ‘tear out’ the sin-nature residue left in our lives from our old, pre-Jesus selves, and not focus only on ‘installing’ the new self that a walk with Jesus brings.  

Let’s look at Colossians 3:5-9

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:  sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.

Now recognize that Paul writes this before he gets to the ‘putting on’ of the new-self section in verse 12.  If you’re like me, you read through this section in vv. 5-9 quickly and focus more on that section starting in vs. 12.  And hey, that section is beautiful, and spending time in it and meditating on it and praying that God would show us how to ‘put on’ these godly traits is an incredibly valuable use of our time.  But if we don’t also take seriously these ‘putting off’ commands (that we also find in Ephesians 4:17-32), our walks with God will be limited and we’ll not achieve the maturity in Christ to which He calls us.  

“OK, Randy, then how do I go about this?”  Well, I’m glad you asked!  There are a couple of types of circumstances that God creates or allows in our lives that give great opportunity to ‘put off’ aspects of our old selves.  

One of those circumstances is trials.  Trials in our lives often bring out, even subtly, some of the less attractive stuff in our hearts.   When that happens we have a great opportunity to present ourselves to God (Romans 12:1-2) and pray that He will help to rid our hearts of one or more of these ugly traits.  

Another circumstance that God would like to use in our lives, one that we may not think about much, are dry times.   We may still go to church, read our Bibles, and pray, but we’re doing it more out of duty and obligation than out of love for our Lord.   We’re just not experiencing His presence much.  When this happens, this is another prefect opportunity to present ourselves to Him and ask that He show us anything in our hearts that He wants to purge from us (Psalm 139:23-24).

And honestly, we don’t need to wait for trials or dry times to present ourselves to God and ask him to examine our hearts and show us what He would like us to ‘put off’.  

Brothers and sisters, if we’re children of God we don’t look at what I’m saying here as a way for God to love us more or be more pleased with us.  This is all because He already and always loves us and accepts us as fully and completely as is possible, so then to thank Him and serve Him we should want to grow and mature in Him, becoming more and more like Christ throughout our lives.

Shall we take this seriously, together?

About The Author

Randy Jones

Randy Jones is an Assistant Pastor and serves in two primary areas: overseeing the administrative departments of Cornerstone as well as helping shepherd the young families in the church. Randy arrived at Cornerstone in May of 2012 with over 20 years of experience in church and para-church ministries.