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. (Eph. 4:22)
Expanded Passage: Ephesians 4:22–24
While walking through the market in Athens, with its screeching abundance of options, Socrates was overheard soliloquizing, “Who would have thought that there could be so many things that I can do without?” How freeing must have been Socrates’ discovery, that day, that he needed not be enslaved to unnecessary possessions!
Not too many of us can say, with veracity, that we have similarly discovered this freedom from things. We are too easily enslaved by the desire for more. Few of us can drive past a yard sale without stopping to see if there was something more we could add to our accumulations. The apostle Paul referred to this lust for more as our “former way of life” and as “the old self,” which is corrupted by “deceitful desires.” It is former because it is a part of our past. It is old because we have been made new. And it is deceitfully corrupt because it promises satisfaction while leaving an insatiable hunger for more.
Putting off the old self, while a personal imperative, is the work of the Holy Spirit. Only by our submitting to the Spirit’s work does he enable us to bury our old life and rise to a new one.
Submit to the Spirit’s work in you.
Theodore Griffin is a Wesleyan pastor and a doctor of ministry student. He and his wife, Randy, have two adult children and are the proud grandparents of a ten-month-old grandson.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.