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The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance The Proverbs...
The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance The Proverbs Ladder of Character: My Character = Requires Reproof
March 2, 2013
Our world is a minefield. Television, the music and movie industries, even in our schools, bombarded me with lies that, if I believe them, will shape my character. What do some of these lies look like, and what are the consequences if I believe them? Take a look…
The Consequences of Believing the World’s Lies
If I believe… I must be beautiful to be loved…I’ll focus on my physical appearance
If I believe… people can’t be trusted…I won’t have any close friends
If I believe… only strong people survive in this world…I won’t be merciful
If I believe… happiness is about accumulating things…I won’t be generous
If I believe… God accepts me based on performance…I’ll work myself to death or give up altogether
If I believe… people will laugh at my Christian beliefs…I won’t share Jesus with anyone
If I believe…I can’t change…I won’t
How can I defend myself against this constant assault? The Bible calls it “renewing my mind” – God’s process of character development – conforming me daily to the character of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says renewing my mind has 2 parts: 1) put off the “Old Man”, then 2) put on the “New Man”. In this week’s article, we’ll focus on putting off the “Old Man”, and next week we’ll look the “New Man.”
Every facet of my character ties back to something I believe, and what I believe determines how I behave. I must challenge my beliefs, by identifying those things I have always believed that are not true, and stop doing them (“put them off”). But it’s more than not doing them anymore – I must replace these lies with the truth given to me throughout both the Old and New Testaments. For example, Proverbs 4:24-27 tells me to “Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, let your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; remove your feet from evil.” This same message is repeated in Colossians 3:9-10: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
How do I “put off the Old Man”? Renewing my mind begins with reproving. 2Timothy 3:16 tells me that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for REPROOF, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The word “reproof” means “to bring conviction by exposing an area in my life that needs to change.” What does “reproof” look like? Have you ever felt convicted when reading the Bible because God just exposed an area of your life needing to be changed? Have you ever felt convicted when someone saw you doing something you knew was wrong? Have you ever felt convicted when someone said or did something you knew was right, but you are willing to do the same?
To put off my “Old Man”, I first must ask God to reprove me, by identifying for me the lies I’ve believed. One easy way God does this is showing me the excuses I’ve been making for my behavior. Ever say one of the following phrases: “I’ve always been this way”, or “Everyone else is doing it”, or “One time won’t hurt”, or “What people don’t know won’t hurt them”? A second way God reproves me is to reveal to me the areas of my life where I regularly succumb to temptation, and force me to be honest with myself. What sort of conversations do I have with myself to justify my behavior, if I know doing it is wrong? Until I expose and face the lies behind the temptation, I cannot apply the truth of God’s Word.
If you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you have no problem understanding what I’m saying, and getting started by being honest with God about your “Old Man”. If you do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior, that’s where you begin. Remember last week’s article? God’s plea to you is Proverbs 23:26: “My son, give Me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways.”
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.
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