An Open Letter to the Old Self

We did it again.

We poured bitter, angry, foul words at someone we loved.

We made them feel small.

We assured them of their failures.

We condemned them in their sins.

All in the name of pride, arrogance, selfishness.

The holier-than-thou attitude I thought I had kicked to the curb reared its ugly head once again. And you didn’t help one bit. You goaded it on gleefully, reliving the old Hannah, reliving the temporary satisfaction of a verbal smackdown.

You didn’t stop there.

You then haunted me with the weight of the words I had spewed in a half-awake but furious stupor. If only I had bit my tongue, had just shut up before I called out the splinter in my loved one’s eye. God must be so disappointed. How could He want someone like me, someone who lets petty anger burn against someone they love and respect when I have a load of much worse sins to my account. It’s me, I am the true failure.

You continued, telling me I had to fix it. Fix it quickly, before God saw what I had done. Fix it, and it’ll be all better.

But you, my silly, fickle, thorn-in-my-side old self. You lied to me.

Jesus stepped down from His throne, lived a human life while being completely God, and then brutally died on a rugged tree so that I — of all people — could throw myself on His mercy and be forgiven.

Jesus imputed His righteousness to me — to me — so that I don’t have to fix myself, because God sees Jesus instead of my pathetic sins.

Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb so that believers — like me — could get off the altar.

Jesus triumphed as the Lion of Judah so that I don’t have to bear the weight of my sins, because they have been covered by His blood and banished as far as the east is from the west.

Jesus made me into a new creation, new for His kingdom, so that I could die to my old self and live freely in Him.

So I admit you pull me down, my old self, and successfully bid me glance away from the work of Christ. But we are not one and the same anymore. I am His, and He is mine. I am new, His workmanship, a testimony to His grace and love and mercy. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:14-25

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:20-24

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Romans 6:1-7

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One thought on “An Open Letter to the Old Self

  1. ‘So when Satan terrifies you with his awful accusations against your soul, you can say with confidence, ‘It is God and no other who justifies me. He has promised to restore my life if I submit to Him. Has He ever broken a promise? Therefore, I have committed my self to Him as unto a faithful Creator.’ -William Gurnall

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