Out with the old (man), in with the new (creation)!*

Tosin's Bible Blog:  Out with the old (man), in with the new (creation)

Last week, in the final blog post of 2014, I wrote about the fact that who you truly are is determined by the thoughts that grow in your head. I believe that this is true whether you deliberately cultivate those thoughts, like flowers, or whether you simply allow them to grow freely, like weeds. I also made the point that I had written a very similar blog post approximately two years earlier, for the first blog post of 2013. I had not planned the symmetry of those posts at all! However since I wrote that second post, a few other thoughts have occurred to me: those two years, 2013 and 2014, framed by those two blog posts, were the years in which I myself truly discovered the truth of those sentiments, in dealing with the negativity of my own heart, that what I allow myself to think or meditate upon in my own mind truly defines who I am! Over the course of those two years I essentially released myself to anger regarding various experiences I had within a few churches, and I really gave full vent to that anger here on this blog. Ironically, it was shortly before that first post, in 2012, that I wrote a post about “How to make yourself a powerful instrument in the hands of the devil” in which I actually spoke about the destructiveness of releasing yourself to anger (amongst other things), explaining that this was a very good way of doing the devil’s work for him. Oh dear!

I’ve said this so many times, but it is sincerely true that I am ready and eager to cast away that anger behind me. I feel that I now understand what I need to do to cultivate thoughts of love towards other people, including all those people I met at church. I want to leave that anger behind me in 2014, and press on instead into joy, beauty, grace of true Christlike character. Seen from that light, it is quite fitting that those two blog posts framed those two years, which I will henceforth think of as “my angry years”. (In truth I was so angry that I am quite surprised but also relieved that it all only took up two years!) I guess it could be considered that the first blog post was the theory, which I myself was only just discovering, and which seemed deeply radical to me because no-one else seemed to phrase things in that way. And then the second blog post was the reality, after having to deal with my own heart, in which I was forced to acknowledge that it really was true, and not only in a theoretical sense, but also as a priority for me to focus on!

So now, it is time to move forward! I am so excited about this New Year, by God’s grace! There are so many exciting ideas that I am so eager to share with all you readers, not only here on Tosin’s Bible Blog, but also on my other blog, “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie” (on which I still owe a couple of December posts!) I feel as if I am only now truly understanding what it means to love other people unconditionally, because I am only now understanding what people (including myself) are truly like, and how hard it can be to feel positive about them. I feel as if I am only now understanding what forgiveness truly looks like.

How this works practically?
Even though I want to have left my anger behind in 2014, I have to admit that even in this New Year, I have already caught myself rolling those old angry thoughts in my mind over and over. It is such a habit, and expecially because I have felt deeply justified about my anger. Thankfully though, I now know to arrest those thoughts in my mind. Each time I have caught myself doing this, I have tried to ask myself “Why am I thinking this?!” I have to be ruthless about cutting these thoughts out of my mind, and instead meditating on God’s word, and God’s truth instead. God’s truth is that all these people are precious in His sight. God’s truth is that absolutely no-one is to be written off. God’s truth is that God can take any of these people, and use them powerfully for His grace and His glory. Instead of thinking of the things they have done to me which I don’t like, any time I remember them, I have to remember instead that they are precious people, for whom God has amazing and beautiful plans. This anger has also been such a significant doorway to self-righteous pride in my own heart. I have to remember that I am not “all that”. The only person who is “all that” around here is God. Everything I have is from God. Everything I have or I have achieved that I might be tempted to falsely look on as proof that I am “better” than these people is from God. Every time I find myself thinking in a way that is contrary to this, I have to stop myself, and assert God’s truth instead. And then additionally, instead of reactively waiting to catch myself thinking wrongly, I have to pro-actively take time to fill my mind with God’s truth on all these issues, by deliberately making time in my prayer time to meditate on God’s opinion on these matters, as very clearly revealed in the Bible!

Over the last few months, I feel as if I have come to know and understand so many things. Included in these new ways of thinking are how to cultivate wise boundaries in my interactions with other people, and various other things! I now have a new vision for myself, owing to all this new wisdom. Thinking and looking ahead into my immediate future and on an ongoing basis, I imagine light, I see joy, I expect smiles, I anticipate grace! I am so happy about this, and excited about working to make it all come true, by God’s grace!

My visions for this year:
“Operation People Person”!
Over the last couple of years, if I did not know before, it was very strongly brought home to me that I am not really a people person. Not by any means! The one Bible verse that springs to my mind when considering myself as a people person is this:  “For with God, nothing shall be impossible!” (Luke 1v37) And yet by the grace of God it is going to change this year! My aim for myself is to truly care about people, to look beyond their seeming failings and see what there is to be loved about them, to make people love being around me!

“Operation Beauty Queen”!
I’ve just come off the phone to my Mum, and she spoke (not nearly for the first time! –  Perhaps for the first time this year!) about the need to always look fantastically presented. This is very important to her, and my goodness, my Mum dresses well! A few days earlier, one of my sisters was making a very similar point. So yes, I am going to be making more of an effort with my external appearance! And yet, when I say “Operation Beauty Queen”, I am talking about internal beauty! I am talking about joy, about grace, about laughter, about light, about being quick to forgive and forget…and about patience! I’m talking about cultivating true palpable loveliness from the inside out. This is so exciting!

“Operation Fruitastic”!
Yep, both of my blogs are about to get very fruity!
By the grace of God, I plan to focus on deliberately cultivating the different aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing on one aspect per month or longer as need be. I hope that this will be the subject of future blog posts, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here! One thing I’m certainly sure of though is that there is an urgent need in my life for me to focus on “Patience”!

Thank you Mr Prayer Warrior!
(Look how I’m boldly assuming it is a man!)
Once again, this blog post would not be complete without my thanking the person who is praying for me! Once again I have to insert the proviso that I am not totally sure that there is someone praying for me! I guess it could just be a coincidence that so often these seemingly insurmountable issues seem to have just melted away in my life – but only after I have publicly expressed them, here on this blog or elsewhere! To be honest, I am worried that I am only flattering myself immensely in thinking that there is someone “out there” praying. Because such is the rate at which victories are pouring into my life, that if it is indeed due to someone praying, I’m asking myself whether he actually does anything else with his life other than pray for me! So if you are out there, and you are praying for me, I can only say “Thank you so much!” I am so grateful. I also pray for you that God would pour out incredible blessings upon your own life too! May this year be a year of incredible favour and promotion for you! I must admit that I am also hoping that this might yet be exciting in another way too, but perhaps that is more an issue for my other blog! (Wink!)

*In case anyone thinks that the title of this post is a little cryptic or does not make sense, this is what it means:  in the New Testament, “The Old Man” is a phrase that is used to describe who we used to be before our spirits were regenerated by Christ. Romans 6v6-7. It is used not only for male people, ie, actual men, but also for women!  The New Testament also teaches that if anyone is in Christ, then they are a new creation!  So my point is that where traces of “The Old Man” still exist in me, then they have to be thoroughly thrown out of my life, to more fully embrace the new creation instead!

Bible Verses:
2 Corinthians 5v17:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Galatians 5v22-23
:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
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