Become who you were made to be
Frustrated by sin? It's time to embrace the life God created you for.
In Ephesians 4:25-32, the apostle Paul lists some personal qualities which if you put them together make up a pretty awesome person.
Imagine if you were like this:
- Always honest (v25): you don’t lie to protect your reputation or get out of trouble or avoid conflict you tell the truth.
- Handles anger well (v26): you might get angry but it’s always reasonable, never out of proportion and you never take it out on someone else.
- Totally trustworthy (v28): you never take something that belongs to someone else - for instance you never take the credit for something someone else has done.
- Generous to a fault (v28) : you work really hard to make some money and then you give as much of it away as you can afford.
- Speaks words that build others up (v29): you never tear others down.
- Fully devoted to God (v30): you wholeheartedly embrace his mission to redeem the world.
- Doesn’t give in to bitterness (v31): you don't let anger simmer or explode - you don't wrangle for the upper hand, don’t speak about people behind their backs.
- Kind, tenderhearted (v32): you forgive those who hurt you rather than bearing a grudge.
That’s some list. That’s some kind of person.
Imagine if any of us were like that. Imagine if you met someone like that. They’d stand out from everyone else. A person like that would be like no one you’ve ever met. And imagine if you were part of a community of people all like that.
Who we are vs. Who we were made to be
It doesn’t take a whole lot of self awareness to realise there’s a gap between who we are and who we would like to be. We notice this gap all the time.
- At school: when someone makes fun of someone else and we laugh when we know we shouldn’t.
- In the car: when someone cuts us off in traffic and we get so angry - way out of proportion!
- At work or home: when someone criticises you and you can't stop thinking about it for days or weeks and hold it against them.
- With friends: when you let someone down but instead of apologising you make an excuse or blame someone else.
In day-to-day life there are so many times we see the gap. And sometimes we wonder what’s wrong with us. And sometimes we doubt that we will ever really change.
But the reason Paul paints this wonderful picture of who we are made to be is not to make us feel bad about how far we fall short. But to give us hope. Because God is working to make us into this kind of person - this kind of community.
Give up your old self and embrace God's best for you
Paul says repentance is the path we walk to become the person God made us to be:
- First, when we repent of our sins and follow Jesus (i.e. becoming a Christian).
- And second, as we do the daily work of putting off our old self and embracing the better life God has for us.
Even though we're fully forgiven in Jesus, putting off our old self isn't always easy.
But the reason - and motivation - for giving up our old self is Jesus. He gave up himself for us. When we see him on the cross, bearing our sin. When we see him holding out eternal friendship while we still sinned. When we welcome his grace. Then we can repent and change.
Do you want to be more like the person God made you to be? Admit your failings to him today. Ask his Spirit to help you put off your old self and embrace the life you were made for.