You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
The beginning of a new year allows us to reevaluate our lives, rethink our priorities, and recalibrate our goals. For Christians, the beginning of a new year is an opportunity for spiritual detoxification. We have to take the time to cleanse our hearts, purge our spirits so we can sanctify our souls.
At the beginning of each year, I devote 40 days to a spiritual fast as a tithe to the Lord. During that time, I observe strict dietary practices, so I can focus on prayer, meditation, and intense Bible study. It is also during this time that I take an introspective look at the previous year, my strengths and weaknesses, and recommit myself to a more Christ-centered and Holy Spirit-led lifestyle.
In today’s text, Paul tells the Ephesians to put off their old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. We all need to do likewise. It does not matter how much one prays, his or her involvement in ministry, or spiritual maturity. We are all sinful beings that need spiritual renewal and sanctification.
The only way to be made new is through spiritual detoxification. We have to be intentional about cleansing our souls so we can draw closer to God. That means reevaluate our priorities, check our motives, and renew the attitude of our minds. After all, our toughest spiritual battle is in the mind. That is why Paul exhorts us to have the same mindset as Christ (Philippians 2:5).
With a Christ-centered mindset, we can put on the new self, which was created to be like God in righteousness and holiness. That should be the ultimate goal for every Christian. What does that look like? We are driven to think primarily of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—we think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
I no longer make New Year resolutions. Instead, I spend my time of prayer and fasting to strategize with God and hear from the Lord about what he wants me to do in the New Year. Many Christians do not spend enough time strategizing with God. Instead, they make plans and set goals; then, they ask God to co-sign on those plans and goals.
God is an author and creator. He does not co-sign on anyone else’s plans. We have to check with him before setting any agenda or making any plans. That means putting off our old selves so we can put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Then He will grant us the desires of our hearts as our ways will be pleasing to him (Psalm 34:7).
So, what is the Holy Spirit leading you to do differently this year? Are you struggling to let go of your old self so you can put on a new self that is sanctified and driven to please God alone? Perhaps you should do a spiritual fast. You can start with one day, or maybe five days. It is not the number of days of fasting that is important. The key is for you to be intentional about cleansing your soul so you can draw closer to God and walk in righteousness and holiness.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, we are emptying our cups so you can fill it up with your Spirit power. Sanctify our souls, I pray, so we can walk in righteousness and holiness in Jesus name.