Spiritual Heart Transplant
Do you ever feel as though two equal powers are inside you with completely opposite desires? This is a common feeling, which seems to explain how we struggle to live a life that pleases God.
For example, when a lustful thought enters your mind, you know you shouldn’t give in to temptation. But as a Christian, there’s also a desire within you to say no to the temptation. In Ezekiel 36:26, God says He has given us a new heart that desires righteous living.
“I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.” (TLB)
If that’s the case, though, then why does a sinister, opposite desire to give in to temptation seem to be within us—even when we know we’ll regret it? What or who is this other player inside of us?
I remember hearing as a young Christian that I had two natures, the “old self” and the “new self,” living inside of me.
Some people may tell you your old self is like a ferocious dog living inside of you, terrorizing you and other people. It controls you and makes you commit all kinds of sins. It’s what makes you selfish, self-centered, and dependent on yourself instead of God. It’s the reason you are tempted and the reason you sin.
In contrast, they say the new self is like a wonderful, loving dog that always wants to be with you. It protects you and leads you to do what God wants. It’s why you want to live a righteous life. It’s why you want to serve and help others. It’s the reason you can resist temptation and obey God.
According to this illustration, the dog (or “self”) you feed the most will be the one that wins the battle in your daily life. To feed the old self usually means things like watching pornography, hanging out with people who cuss, getting drunk, going to clubs, having sex outside of marriage, or just avoiding God. Feeding the new self means doing things like reading the Bible, praying, listening to good sermons, serving God, and donating money.
This two-self teaching seems to express what we often experience, doesn’t it? Some will use Scriptures that seem to prove this, like Ephesians 4:22–24, which says,
“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.”
If you look closely at the text, though, you’ll notice these verses are clearly speaking about behavior. When it says, “your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self,” it means to get rid of the sinful behaviors that were a part of the old self that is no longer inside of you. Then putting on the new self is about living with righteous behavior that is consistent with the new self you now have, meaning the new identity in Christ you have today.
(Copyright Mark Maulding, God’s Best-Kept Secret, pages 63-64)
I invite you to attend my first ever, God’s Best-Kept Secret Conference, based on my book. At the Conference, I will speak more about the above and on these topics:
- What if God Is Not Religious?
- What if There Are No Checklists in Christianity?
- Are You Ready to Trade Try Harder Christianity for Trust Him Christianity?
- What if Christianity is Easier when Built on the Three Pillars of The New Covenant?
- What if Christians Don’t Have a Civil War Raging Inside?
- What Do We Have That’s Better Than The 10 Commandments?
- Did You Know Your Three Unknown Lies Can Control You?
Live free in Christ,
Mark Maulding, President and Founder