Have You Met The New You?

newuI have never found evidence of the long-sought after fountain of youth, but I do know that Paul wrote to the Ephesians about renewal:

If you have heard Jesus and have been taught by Him according to the truth that is in Him,  then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self—that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust— to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit.  Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.                  ~Ephesians 2:21-24

Paul says you have the opportunity to get rid of the old, step into a new life, and take a fresh breath of life.  Spiritual renewal shapes you into the “likeness of God,” and you begin to realize that you are:

You’re not a crumpled model of this old world; you’ve been freshly fashioned in the likeness of Jesus, and this is why you:

Forget your former way of life, “that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust.”  Embrace the new you.  It’s time to “take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit.”

Thoughtful or Thought-Filled?

I’m not sure that I’m a thoughtful person; however, I have no doubt that I am thought-filled.  My mind races from one thought to another at a speed, that even NASCAR can’t match.

If all these thoughts were positive and constructive, I’d be the envy of the world.  The trouble is that many of them are negative and destructive.

I’ve come to realize that either I control my thoughts or they control me.  Our thoughts are seeds that blossom into feelings and behaviors that make us either blooming idiots or citizens of substance.

Dick Tracy

The increase in technology is directly connected to a decrease in thought-regulating quiet time.  Think with me for a moment about the rapid changes in society.  I can remember the Sunday edition of the paper and the watch-like apparatus Dick Tracy wore on his wrist.  Dick could be seen talking to a fellow detective with this device that was a pre-cursor to cell phones and video conferencing.  Most everyone thought this was far-fetched-thinking that would never happen in their lifetime, but we’ve gone from party-lines to cell phones with video capabilities in just a few short years.

And shortened years just might be the diagnosis, if we don’t learn how to slow down and still keep pace.  The question is:  How can we slow down, when the computer keeps us ramped up?

Here’s something I’m trying.  Every time I do a Google search, I pause just a second before I begin and say something positive and spiritual.  Prayers like this  have their roots in the words of the Apostle Paul:  Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17); and in the thoughts of the old Quaker theologian, Rufus Jones:  Let a person’s inner being be fortified with a faith in God and all his creative powers are quickened, his marching strength is heightened and his grip on everyday things is immensely increased. It is as though he had tapped a hidden reservoir of power.

Let me share a few quick phrases that can be effective keyboard prayers:

·        Bless the Lord, my soul.

·        May Your will be accomplished in me.

·        Not my will, but yours.

·        Teach me. Guide me. Keep me

·        The Lord is the Rock of my salvation.

Instead of embracing the mentality of Atlas and trying to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, I’m learning to use these mini-prayers as pace-setters as I walk with the Lord.

I think these words of Jesus from The Message provide a good summary of my thoughts:  Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30).

I hope this thought keeps you thinking.