“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:21-22 NLT).
When a man die his spirit departs leaving behind his physical body or remains for his family to put away, bury or cremate. But, if a man’s dead body or remains is left unattended to, after a short time, it will begin to decompose and exude a repulsive stench and thus become a nuisance to all.
The longer a man’s dead body stays around unattended to, the greater the stench that will emanate from it and the discomfort it will cause all the people around it.
Similarly, the stench or repulsive character of many born-again believers today is coming from the remains of the old man lingering on unattended to in their souls (will, mind and emotions).
The longer the remains of the old man lingers on in your mind, the greater the stench of the old man that will ooze out of your emotions, thoughts, speech, conduct, character or lifestyle.
Through the New Birth you have become a new creation or self in Christ.
What happened to your old man or old self?
He was put to death, crucified with Christ!
The Scripture amply affirms this truth.
2 Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (RSV).
6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (NKJV).
24 And those who are Christ’s have put to death on the cross the flesh with its passions and its evil desires. (BBE).
3 For you died, and your Life now lies hidden, with the Christ, in God. (TCNT).
According to Scripture, at the Cross, the life of the old man was snuffed out, extinguished or put out completely.
Therefore, the old man is no longer alive in you; he is dead and gone! You are now a new man in Christ, not with the old man’s sinful nature and life, but with God’s holy nature and life. Hallelujah!
Why then are many born-again believers today still manifesting the life, nature or character of the old man as though the old man is still alive in them?
Because of their unwillingness, slackness or laziness to properly deal with or put away the remains of the old man left behind in their souls (will, mind and emotions)!
Although Christ has terminated the life of the old man at the Cross, yet you still have to deal with or put away his remains in your mind.
If you fail to properly put away the remains of the old man or the body of sin in your mind, you will continue to exude the stench of the old man in your thought, speech, emotions, conduct or behaviour.
Paul clearly states this truth.
6 Being conscious that our old man was put to death on the cross with him, so that the body of sin might be put away, and we might no longer be servants to sin. (BBE).
If you don’t put away the body of sin or the remains of the old man in your will, mind and emotions, you will continue to be a slave or servant to sin. This is the problem of many believers today!
What then is the body of sin or the remains of the old man left behind in your will, mind and emotions that you must properly deal with it or put away completely?
Like your physical human body, the body of sin consists of many members!
This is why the Scripture commands you to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:5 NKJV).
The body of sin comprises all the sinful desires or fleshly passions, all the selfish ambitions and worldly mindsets that have been entrenched or firmly fixed in your soul (will, mind and emotions) before you became born-again.
In a word, all that the old man inculcated, infused or instilled in your will, mind and emotions before Christ put him to death can be referred to as “self” or “selfishness.”
This is what you have to deal with!
Before his life was snuffed out through the cross of Christ the old man has successfully taught, trained, educated or programmed you to be selfish or self-centred, to think only about yourself, to seek after only your pleasures, to pursue only your selfish ambitions or dreams, to trust in your self-righteousness, to rely or depend only upon yourself, and to live only for yourself.
Seeking to love, obey or serve the Lord Jesus with the same mind that has been previously taught, trained, programmed or set on pleasing ”self” by the corrupt old man who once lived in you will always result in confusion, friction, frustration and failure in your Christian life.
Your mind is very crucial in your spiritual walk, for it is the seat of your intellect, knowledge, reasoning, perception, judgement, emotions or feelings. Therefore, unless your mind is renewed according to the words or teaching of Christ, it will hinder you from obeying and following Jesus Christ closely (Rom. 12:2, Jam. 1:21)!
How then do you put away the body of sin or the remains of the old man left behind in your will, mind and emotions?
By renewing your mind according to the words or teaching of Christ!
Renewing your mind is a continuous process of identifying and putting off the remains of the old man (your former selfish mindsets, values, principles, patterns, or ways of life) in your mind, and understanding and putting on the mindsets, values, principles, patterns and ways of life of Christ in your mind.
Paul aptly explains the process of renewing our minds in his epistle to the Ephesians.
22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],
24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. (AMP).
You put off and discard the ways of life of your former unregenerate self by constantly reading, listening to, studying, imbibing, and meditating in the words or teaching of Jesus Christ, and also by yielding yourself to, relying or depending upon the Holy Spirit, the Divine Helper, sent by Christ to indwell you and abide with you forever (John 14:16-17).
Beloved, putting away the remains of the old man or the body of sin in your mind is your personal and primary responsibility as a born-again believer. You cannot shirk this responsibility for another person.
The Scripture commands you to this.
2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (RSV).
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. (KJV).
5 Let the same disposition be in you which was in Christ Jesus. (WNT).
21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (NLT).
Friend, be diligent in putting away the remains of the old man in your mind by renewing your mind according to Christ’s teaching and as you are doing so the repulsive stench of the old man will cease to ooze out of your life.
Arise and get to work today – putting off self and putting on Christ in your soul (will, mind and emotions) by constantly beholding the glory of Jesus Christ in the mirror of God’s Word. It won’t be too long before you will cease to exude the repulsive stench of the remains of the old man and then begin to exude the fragrance of Christ.
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for crucifying with You my old depraved man. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to completely put away the remains of the old man still lingering on in my will, mind and emotions, so that I may cease to exude his repulsive stench and begin to exude the sweet fragrance of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.