Examining Biblical Scripture

Ignoring the Old Man’s Cries: Looking at my reflection in the mirror

The following is something I wrote nearly a year ago. I didn’t publish it because it wasn’t quite ready; I couldn’t quite articulate the way I wanted to. As I post it now, I think it’s as ready as it every will be. I hope you will recognise your Old Man as I recognised mine, and be transformed:

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17-24) (bold mine)

I am a very reflective person. Emotional, sincere and deep, everything I’ve ever lived has been to contemplate, reflect, document, heal and grow from my experiences. Most of the growth has come from hurtful experiences that, over time, have been overcome. That’s a part of being human, right? But I’m realising that all of this may be emotionally healing and healthy, but it is all the old man, the flesh that has already been overcome by God’s spirit within me.

Living in the New Man

Living in the New Man means those Old Man experiences and responses are flesh and can simply be ignored. A dead man feels no pain. A dead man needs no psychology. He needs no comfort. Or attention.

On the other hand, the New Man is alive! He is whole. He is as confident and vibrant as Jesus! He has the joy of the lord, is righteous and holy.

Living in the revelation of the New Man is not difficult, but it is very new to me. It means that all of the emotional life that is hurting has been overcome already and healing isn’t necessary. Not if my attitude is to let it go, and leave the past buried. Why heal a dead man?

This new understanding is freeing. And yet, I can’t help wondering… is this right? Healthy? Too good to be true?

A few weeks ago my husband was a guest preacher at a local church. He is a teacher of the Word (see Bible Studies on for a sample) but he rarely preaches. There was something that he said that struck me in a new way and changed my life… He looked at the Old Man/New Man concept and quoted tons of scripture, wrapping it all up by emphasising that trying harder is the old man trying to do the right thing. When I heard this, I was at precisely a point in my prayer life when I was thinking the quantity and quality of my prayer was not “good enough” and I should “try harder”. Hearing hubby gave me pause to rethink!

I realise that living to overcome the flesh is admirable but it isn’t necessary. It’s good, but it isn’t what is best.

Surrender, not additional effort

Instead of trying harder, I’ve decided to surrender the prayer issue to God.

Now I’m going for the best! I have begun a new phase of life, where not only in prayer but in all things I have God’s shalom – peace – like never before. I am calmer, more deliberate in my activities and actions, more gracious, more anointed (filled with the Holy Spirit in my daily walk) and I sense it is because I’m choosing to ignore the fleshly “old man” annoyances and am walking in the Joy of the Lord as the new man. I am more free! to love, laugh, and live this life.

All of my past experience and insight has said we must face and address pain, and forgive, heal, and grow past it. To ignore it is so different. But it is possible and living it makes my family and personal — and emotional life — better for it.

The New Man isn’t affected by insult or injury. Because I am living in the reality of Jesus.

As I experience disappointment through this new perspective, I sense myself turning my back on the negative thought or emotion, and ignoring it. I’m not denying it, but rather, I’m simply not giving it any consideration. And by God’s power, I am able to overcome the temptation to react to a situation that is unpleasant.

I’m not succeeding every time. Sometimes I slip back into the old habit of getting cross or wounded.

Recognising the Old Man

The old man may need healing, but the new man has nothing that requires attention, because he is full of the love, joy and peace of Jesus. We carry the same spirit, the comforter, who enables us to move forward in confident peace and live the life God has held for us from the beginning of our lives.

Where do our emotions come from? They are rooted in our minds. The enemy attacks our minds, and our emotions are like footballs that are tossed and kicked, to and fro. But he cannot touch our spirit. By walking in the new man, our emotions are covered by the Spirit.

I’m discovering my mind is renewed within me, and as I allow myself to ignore the old man and follow the new spirit, life is peaceful, productive and positive.

Oh temptations come, to cause me to explode or worry or fear. But I have the key to overcoming: I choose to live in the new man, with a renewed mind,  joyful and trusting the outcome of every situation to God.

This new man thinking has me considering more than my emotional life.

This New Man and Relationships

I’m also thinking  about the roles we place ourselves in – such as spouse, parent, child, sibling, employer, employee, congregation member, congregation leader, friend. I’m discovering that there is so much that we assume is correct in how we relate with others. I find I’m re-evaluating my relationship skills and my interpersonal expectations as well. I’m giving everything over to the new man, and discovering a new freshness, love and ease.

Jesus related confidently and courageously with all and was loyal and faithful and true. Yet, he did not flatter or compromise; he was not anxious or cross or fearful. He lived and moved in the Spirit; he was a man who offered love and liberation in his relationships.

I want to do the same. So I live in faith, in the Spirit of the new man. I encourage all who know Jesus to do the same. Through prayer, submission and love, not effort, we can live this new life as a new man and enjoy our relationships, our lord and ourselves. Hallelujah!

Every blessing as you live this new month, live move and have your being in the Lord Jesus.