22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Whenever a person falls ill and is given antibiotics, it always states on the label that he should complete the course, and of course there is a reason behind it. The rationale is so as to ensure that all the harmful bacteria are wiped out and have no chance of any lingering and developing resistance to the antibiotic. For us as Christians, even though we are not battling illnesses, there is always lingers one major obstacle that we have to wage war with every single day of our lives, that is, our flesh. But praise be to God that we have a Heavenly Father Who never leaves us to fend for ourselves. By His grace and mercy and out of pure love for us, He has made us His royal priesthood, enabling us to communicate and talk to Him and learn from Him anywhere, anytime. He has provided countless ways and means for us to get in touch, up close and personal with Him, be it through praying or studying the Word, all so that we would be molded in the likeness of Christ Jesus His only Son. These things that draw us closer to God and cause us to become more like Jesus are really better known as the spiritual disciplines.
These spiritual disciplines can come in many shapes and forms, from praying to meditation to fasting and many more. However, all these disciplines serve as the ‘antibiotics’ for the obstacle we have that is our flesh. It is only through feeding upon His Word and talking to Him each day that we can keep our flesh at bay, gaining strength upon strength every day from Him so that we can make the tangible choice of choosing to walk in God’s love though we may have every right to be angry and nasty sometimes. You see, the disciplines are important but what is also of paramount importance is our perception of the disciplines. Many times, people fall into the trap of looking a lot at the external and make their own judgements about their ‘level’ of holiness, so to speak. People these days tend to see it as a destination, a place to be in. I hear people say things like, “I also want to be able to pray as long as he can” or “He fasted for 3 days straight! I wish I could be like him”. And as much as we can look to people of God as examples, let us never forget that the spiritual disciplines are and never will be a destination, it is the pathway TO the destination, the destination being the likeness of Christ. God has placed this so strongly in my heart, that it is not so much about you being in the discipline but it’s more about what you become out of it.
Of course, the first part would thus be the phase where one acquires knowledge from God via the various disciplines. But, to complete the course, one has to follow through with the second part as well, and that is to take action. We have to put on that new self given to us, we have to run the race, fight the good fight, and pick up our cross to follow Him. Never in His Word do you find that it says that no more effort is required on our part because Jesus died for us at Calvary. We have a new Spirit but the flesh has the same old evil and sinful desires and urges. Jesus gave us the tools to win the victory but to actually go ahead to win that victory, we have to pick the tools up, stand our ground and put up a fight. Our Father has already given us the cure to this persistent problem we face, let’s all put it to good use and train ourselves to be more like Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have made Yourself available to one and all when You gave us Your New Covenant. Thank You that we are now made alive in You, we are made young and free in Your love. Father, I pray that even though I may have to resist the sinful desires and urges that come with my flesh, I’ll do it with an immense joy in my heart, knowing that I have a High Priest who has gone through everything I am going through and more, yet overcame the world. It is my prayer that with all the tools You have provided for me, I will make that decision to train myself up in Your ways and in Your love so that I would be anchored on You, making a stand for Your Name wherever that I have been placed and called to. I thank You Lord Jesus, and In Your Most Mighty Name I pray, Amen.