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April 19, 2021 · Bob Gass

Shun unhealthy self-focus (3)

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life.” Ephesians 4:22 NLT

Does God expect us to work on growth and self-improvement? Yes! But just as examining yourself is futile, so is trying to change if it keeps you self-focused and defeated. The Bible’s path to change is to turn away from self and focus on Christ. Paul says, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV). God isn’t interested in improved flesh. In His eyes, “improved flesh” is still flesh. He’s in the character-transformation business, not the self-improvement business. All your self-improvement strategies can’t transform your old self-nature. Only God, “by the Spirit,” can make you more Christ-like. As you “behold (look at and study) as in a mirror (the Word of God),” you become “transformed into the same image (the image of God you’re looking at) from glory to glory (grade to grade).” It doesn’t happen because of your grit but because of His grace. “So what will happen to my flesh?” you ask. God’s ultimate plan is to replace it and give you a new heavenly body. That’s why Paul wrote, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.” No altering, adjusting, and patching-up allowed—you must “throw if off”! Like a lobster growing and shedding the confinement of its old shell, as you focus on and fellowship with Christ, you are released from the dominance of your old nature and grow into your new one. You’re transformed—from the inside out.

Bible in a year: Judges 16-18 and John 7:28-53

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