As an Army brat, I’ve moved my entire life, usually every two or three years. But my memories of those moves are vastly different from the reality of my most recent move. As a child, I remember those great Army movers coming in and packing everything up. My brother, sister, and I would sit at the box of our giant Magnavox TV (TVs were much larger back then!), eat pizza, and drink orange soda pop. And that was it. That’s what moving was all about to me. And I loved it!
But as I said, that’s much a stark contrast to my most recent move. This last one was the first time I had moved with my wife and kids. But there were no burly Army men to come and lift all the heavy stuff. There was no one to bring me pizza and orange soda pop. I was on my own on this one.
And the ‘stuff’ just kept on coming. I had no idea that we had so many things in our home, but it seemed as though every time I felt like we were making headway, there was another pile of ‘stuff’ waiting in the same spot of the pile I had just cleared. It was absolutely exhausting. A week-long marathon of packing, lifting, moving, driving, lifting, and moving again that rivaled any workout that I have ever done. I’m sore from top to bottom and have no desire to do that again, EVER! But at the same time, I’m happy that it’s done. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with tackling such a daunting task.
As I’ve been preparing to speak this Sunday at church, some amazing parallels struck me about my life and my recent move. You see, like most people, I’ve had to overcome many difficulties in my life. Sins that I’ve committed in the past seem to come back and haunt me on a regular basis. Moving out of a house is hard. Moving out the Old Man and moving in the Holy Spirit is much harder.
But there is good news!
“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned about the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:17-23)
Thanks to God, the ‘old man’ has received his eviction notice! It’s time for him to go. But he doesn’t want to leave and he won’t go quietly. It’s our job to kick him to the curb. But how do we do that? How can we force out the remnants of our old life?
Little by little. I didn’t get my house packed up and everything moved to another location all at once, at a snap of my fingers. It took days, weeks really, to get everything in order. Little by little I moved things from one room until that room was clean and empty. Then I went to another.
Every time we resist the Devil and temptation, we are moving something out of a room in our soul. Slowly but surely, as we begin to let the Holy Spirit win, we move out the old and let the Spirit take his rightful place in our souls.
But when something moves out, we need to replace it with something else. If we don’t then we will find our old friend, temptation, squatting and taking up illegal residence in our hearts. So we must study the Word of God and fill our hearts and minds with His Word. If we do this, there won’t be any room left for the ‘old man.’ Moving something out isn’t enough, we must allow the Spirit to transform us into the temple of the Holy Spirit that He wants us to be.
Don’t get discouraged if it seems as though your sinful past seems to be hanging on for dear life. Instead, take every opportunity to slowly evict it from your heart. Choose to live in a godly way and the ‘old man’ will have no choice but to pack his bags and get out of town. It takes time, and it takes effort, but if you consistently follow after God and seek to do His will, then you can and will have victory over your own life!
Dear Lord, I pray that you will help me to choose you over temptation. Help me to evict the ‘old man’ and move in the Spirit. Thank you for your faithfulness! Amen