Lest we assume that living as a Christian only involves letting God do whatever He chooses in our life, resting in Him as a baby would nestle in its mother and enjoying abundant freedom, these words of Paul pull us up. Hang on! These are conscious acts we are meant to be inhabiting! Paul is clear that we are to 'put to death', 'have nothing to do with', 'get rid of', 'put on your new nature'. We are commanded to wrestle with our old nature, but not perhaps as previously in a despairing, 'I can never win' way. We know we have the victory in Christ Jesus, we know that no matter how many times we fail, His grace will cover all our sins and give us strength to stand again. That strange song comes to mind, 'I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down'. That can be our call to the enemy if our heart is pointed towards Jesus. There is a cynical Christian too, who doesn't really worry about failing God, because they assume that God will continue to cover all their errors by His grace. Paul writes in Romans 6 v 1-4: 'Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.' Just as every morning we take off our night clothes and dress ourselves in our day wear, so Paul urges his readers to 'strip off your old sinful nature and put on your new nature'. This entails a constant activity. We are in a battle: yes, the war is won, but there are still dangers. Be alert, constantly take off the old bits of you as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you and dress yourself in Christ-like ways and attitudes, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in your living!
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