“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-23
Two books of life.
The first book is filled with events, decisions and actions of my former life. It contains a long list of things done wrong by me and to me. It is filled with frightening tales of deceit. Guilt and shame lived there along with other intangible but harmful and powerful rulers of darkness — which kept me in bondage and largely directed the path of my life.
Early rejection and abandonment gave way to insecurity and an internalized anger which, in turn, birthed a separation of myself emotionally from others along with a fierce independence, a tightly wound self control and a need to be in control. These strongholds ruled powerfully over everything I did. They led my decision-making around what people I would surround myself with, what kind of job I would do, whether I would have a family, what I would do with my money and how I would spend my time.
I existed this way for many years. My life was built around self-gratification — happiness was there but was fleeting. There was also an emptiness. A gaping hole of wanting something — better.
Even though Jesus eventually came along and made things better I still allowed the old dark powers to rule. I allowed them to rule over, ultimately, what Jesus was trying to accomplish in my heart. Even though he had shown me a better way I would only apply his word to certain areas of my life.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11
My life eventually fell apart. I didn’t even know I was letting the past rule my future. I was blind.
In earnest desire to really know God as a person and as someone I knew who would save me from myself I pulled his book of the shelf.
Through his word he showed me his power. He reminded me of the many prayers he had already tangibly answered through my life. He showed me that he’d been present all the while but that I had been too focused on the story of my past — that I was continuing to allow those old dark powers to rule over a life which now belonged to Jesus. He brought restoration, reconciliation and hope.
My mind began to be renewed and re-shaped through his word. I finally started seeing the lies for what they were. I called them out and declared them done. I put that old book, fifty years by now, on the shelf and determined to leave it there.
God’s book is on my favorite chair and permanently in my heart.
Every day his word reminds me of his love and care for me and his desire that I live a free life — that I am no longer bound to darkness but bound to his love, salvation, grace and mercy.
Jesus, thank you for sticking with me and not abandoning me, even though many times, it must have felt like I was abandoning you. Thank you for your loving patience but persistent work in my heart. You have given me your peace, a wholeness of life, an inner settledness, that I was never able to find through people, things, money or experiences. None of that brought true heart satisfaction. You have made me whole.
Thank you for bringing revelation and understanding of your word through the help and counsel of the Holy Spirit who is my most trusted friend.
Remind me when I start to take that old book off the shelf — that I am yours.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:22