Ephesians 4:22-24 “…to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” ~CSB
Growing up, my dad used to tell me all about his younger days. The most interesting to me were his ‘fight’ stories. I knew the names of all his old friends because of those stories. As I grew up, I wanted to be like my daddy. So, I got into fights. I tried to imitate and do everything he talked about in his early years growing up in North Nashville.
I got into some trouble because of it, but I must tell you, looking back on those years I realize God saved me from a lot of trouble I ‘could’ have been in. The kind of trouble that either follows you for life or ends it. One day God spoke to me through my father and said, “Son, should you ever have a son, don’t tell him about all the things you did. At least not until he’s 25 or 30 years old. Hopefully by then he will be his own man and won’t attempt to do any of the foolishness you tell him you did.” At this point, I began to see that I was living to imitate the wrong ‘father’.
This statement was seeded in me because years after he said that to me, (six years after he passed), my only son was born. As I watched our fourth child come into the world in the hospital that night, my dad’s statement, in a very clear voice in my head, repeated what he had told me. I remember holding my son one night thinking to myself, “I’ve got to get rid of some of these ‘old habits’ and develop some good new ones."
The world had taught me so much on how to give into, “…deceitful desires…”. I knew well how to lean heavily and easily to the things of this world that promoted against God’s will for my life. So, in order to “…put on my new self…”, I had to go to the Word of God for instructions. I went to Galatians 5:22-23 and wrote the list of ‘The Fruits’ on paper. My goal was to go through each ‘Fruit’, (beginning with the one I had the most ‘trouble’ with), and allow the strength of the Spirit God gave me, to build my character according to each ‘Fruit’.
I started with ‘Self-control’. This is the fruit I needed to work on first. And as the Word of God strengthened my spirit in this ‘Fruit’, I continue, to this day, allowing God’s peace and guidance to work within me. And as a result, I gain strength in all the remaining ‘Fruit’.
We must all do this so that we may tap into the spirit God created in us to live and be in His, “…likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” May God continue to bless, guide, and give strength to you as you journey in Jesus’ name,
Authors Billy & Yolanda
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