1 Jun 2003

Put Off by the Put On?

Submitted by theshovel
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...that ye put off ... the old man ... and that ye put on the new man Ephesians 4:22,24

Check out the phrase "put on" in the dictionary and you'll find quite a few definitions referring to deceit, trickery, joshing, feigned behavior or pretension. Of course, we automatically adjust our perception so that a benign comment like, "Put on your shoes", simply means what it says, but we all know what mom or dad meant when they said, "I expect you to put on your best behavior!" Yeah, for a given time we were supposed to pretend that we always got along and were always composed, obedient and polite. It was hoped that - at least for the duration of the visitors' stay - our normal behavior would be put off and an ideal one put on. I can only tell you that my parents were often disappointed.

But no, I don't suspect any hint of pretension in Paul's statements to the Ephesians. I think, rather, that the historical, religious misapplication of his life-giving words influenced the very definitions now implied by the phrase. What I'm suggesting is that because many church-goers throughout history have seriously adapted the Biblical expression "put on" to define a religious pretentiousness it became a commonly used slang for fakery or kidding.

Maybe that's why so many can't shake the inference that the behavior mentioned in the Biblical record is little more than a facade slapped over the exterior of an old building, making it appear as something it is not. I mean, isn't that the implication behind the popular injunction, "Fake it till you make it"? Simply stated: The thing is not real until you make it real by a process of pretending it is real (which is taught in both Christian and non-Christian circles). But what if we have it all backward? Or doesn't it seem rather odd that a man who pushed honesty and demanded reality would scrap it all where it counts the most in matters of everyday living?

And no, I'm not oblivious to those fabricated distinctions forced into the new creation making it sound reasonable to assume that a new believer needs more simplicity than a mature one. Oh yeah, I've heard the criticism, "But Jim, not everybody knows as much as YOU do", more than once. Now, if the life we've received in Christ had anything whatsoever to do with a learned-after-the-manner-of-this-world knowledge (i.e. one measured by degrees) then the objection would be valid. But then such a Christianity would be worthless, wouldn't it?

Now, it may be that I am able to understand more Biblical information or other trains of thought better than some, but what does any of that have to do with the understanding of the miraculous? "That which is impossible to man" is still impossible to man! The life that has been raised from the dead is still out of reach by the mind of reason. Miraculous is still miraculous.

What I'm saying is that a better understanding of different forms of communication does not equate to a better understanding of God. If the mind of Christ - or the knowledge of God - has not been freely and equally given to ALL who are in Christ then we might as well chalk this whole Jesus-thing up as nothing more than the religion it appears to be. I don't know about you, but I've got more to do with my time than to waste it on a finite knowledge-based religion!

You see, because many teachers have attempted to make the miraculous resurrected life of Christ easier to understand they have only reinforced the same old bogus distinctions that break down spirituality into degrees, or levels, of achievement -- and then we read THAT back into the words of the Bible. Sheesh, don't we get it? We only think we can't understand Christ because of a lack of knowledge, and we only assume another can understand because he knows more than we do! If there is a true maturity in Christ it would be a stubborn holding to the miraculous revelation that all are equally alive in him. Immaturity, on the other hand, would show itself in falsely perceived estimations built upon inferiority vs. superiority, either by those who consider themselves inferior or by those who consider themselves superior.

So, what does all this have to do with putting-off and putting-on? Everything! For we have been duped into the insane idea that we're somehow supposed to remove something from ourselves and then to put something else on that really doesn't belong, in hopes that we'll simply get used to it. I ask again, what if it's the other way around?

Continued next time: Grave Clothes

New Testament: 

Comments

theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Sherri

"If there is a true maturity in Christ it would be a stubborn holding to the miraculous revelation that all are equally alive in him. Immaturity, on the other hand, would show itself in falsely perceived estimations built upon inferiority vs. superiority, either by those who consider themselves inferior or by those who consider themselves superior."

If there is indeed a true 'maturity' and 'immaturity', I would seem to fall most often in the IMmaturity category, as I tend to be convinced often that I am far more inferior than most and only superior to a very select few. ha! It would also seem that I am schizoid, for I tend to 'realize' this Truth as unpredictably and unreliably as I do a lot of other things in life that are 'good' and 'healthy' for me to realize. ha ha

I am sooo very thankful for the Truth that we are indeed equally ALIVE in Him ... that there is no boasting in anything or anyone but Him!! : ) And I am especially thankful that this Truth does not depend upon our human memory! : )

Thank you for reminding us over and over again, and I am looking forward once again to the 'more' forth-coming! : )


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Paul

Truly Shovelicious! Looking forward to the next installment.


Posted: Sep-06-03 by WES

Jim,

I think we've interpreted it as saying, "Put off the real, weak, messed up you, and put on the happy face mask and lie to everyone." Yeeccch...


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Michael Daniel

Hey Jimbo,

How ya be brother of mine? It's been too long since we've talked. I miss you.

Anywho...I got home tonight and pulled up The Shoveletter and lo and behold such great confirmation. I'm not in the least bit surprised. God ALWAYS confirms what The Spirit reaveals to us and He does it in infinate ways.

About an hour before I came home God took me to Psalm 81 verse 15 which reads:

"Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him; and their time of punishment would be forever."

The only way we can "put on" ANYTHING is to know that WE CAN'T put on anything and knowing that WE can't be obedient or "put on" anything cause us to REST in Him instead of striving through self. If Christ hasn't already, by the FINISHED work of the Cross, put EVERYTHING upon us by putting ALL of Himself WITHIN us, then Grace is totally nullified and works of the flesh earn us salvation. God help us, what a sickening thought that is.

It is either All of Grace because it's All God or it's all of works because it's all man. The two CANNOT be married or balanced.

I'm with you bro. When will we know that Jesus Christ has done EVERYTHING for us even before the foundatiopn of the world? The answer is quite simple. When God reveals it to us and not ONE split second sooner. Sure takes the pressure off what WE have to do huh!

Keep causing trouble and discontent throughout the land my friend. After all...Jesus caused trouble wherever He went. Amazing how just one of His many ways He showed us His Love and Grace was by hacking off religeous people and being friends with helpless, worthless, useless sinners who knew they couldn't do a thing. He hasn't changed one bit has He? Thanks for being Jim! I love you!

Inside Him inside us,


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Dana

Jim,

Just read the recent letter. Isnt it funny how we want to still think in terms of what we must do (re: putting on and putting off)? We still want to think we must put on good behavior in order to behave good. I will never forget the day it finally dawned on me that putting on the new man was simply believing in my true indentity in Christ. We always want to relate to ourselves based on our experiences, or our feelings or our thoughts rather than simply believing in who Jesus made us to be.

I remember at one time I was having a real struggle with a certain person. She had said some not very nice things (if ya know what I mean). Well my emotions were screaming HATE HATE! Well I knew it was wrong to hate, so I tried to act nice to her, I said nice things, etc, trying to put on the NEW MAN. Well you know where that got me (I'm sure your answer was "nowhere"). It was only when I came to the place that I didnt care what my thoughts were telling me, I didnt care what came out of my mouth, I was in Christ, He was in me and He is Love, Therefore, so am I. I finally realized I didnt love this person because I felt like it, I loved this person because that was my identity. The freedom of not being controlled by emotions was "heavenly". And as women, the enemy really wants to tag us with that false identity.

Look forward to next shoveletter.


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Bea

Thank you once again for causing me to "reconsider" or rethink old ways of thinking!!! I thank Him for you and feel so blessed by you both!!!!

In His Grace,


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Martha

I just want to thank you for putting out the Shoveletter. At this moment, it's my one contact with real Christianity. I'm almost completely bedfast, and I've lost contact with almost everyone Christian. I can't go to church and meet anyone, and it's hard to get built up alone. Of course there are Christian websites, but so many of them are just legalistic, and I feel worse after I read them rather than better. But you hold to the Truth, and I always feel encouraged and supported and built up after reading the Shoveletters. I just wanted you to know how much the letters are appreciated and how very much they help me feel "connected" to other Christians.

Thank you again,


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Dan

Jim, Thanks for helping me grow as a Christian. You are able to break things down for me and others. You are gifted at making scripture easy to understand. I had been encumberedwith this and that, and all I really needed was Jesus. Thanks and God Bless.


Posted: Mar-06-07 by Dignz

"We only think we can't understand Christ because of a lack of knowledge, and we only assume another can understand because he knows more than we do!"

"... many teachers have attempted to make the miraculous resurrected life of Christ easier to understand ... they have only reinforced the same old bogus distinctions that break spirituality down into degrees, or levels, of achievement ..."

"If the mind of Christ - or the "knowledge" of God - has not been freely and equally given to ALL who are in Christ then we might as well chalk this whole Jesus-thing up as nothing more than the religion it appears to be." <--especially love this one!

The above quotes are especially wonderful and reassuring to me this morning! Thank you!


Posted: Mar-06-07 by guest

"... if 'New Testament Biblical Principles' were really effective then why are we still searching for that elusive secret to victory?" excellent!!

"...the former conversation of the old man ... the sense of EMPTINESS, a vacancy of true life itself. ...'vanity of the mind', 'understanding darkened', 'alienated from the life of God', 'ignorance that is in them', 'blindness of their heart'." <-- Our identity no more! : )

"No matter what our roots, THIS is the perversion by which we learned of "life" in this world."

"... BUT YE HAVE NOT SO LEARNED CHRIST ... IF SO BE THAT YE HAVE HEARD HIM ..."

"Don't make the mistake of comparing this miraculous hearing to the hearing measured by physical ears, for it is of another kind. It is a hearing by which we "understand" that which our physical senses cannot understand because it is a wisdom that is found outside the realm of all human experience; it is the miraculous wisdom of the one who died and rose to new life."

"... THE TRUTH IS IN JESUS"

Wonderful stuff!! Simply wonderful! The stuff of True Life ... Christ our Life ... : )

Thanx again! : )

‘What I’m saying is that a better understanding of different forms of communication does not equate to a better understanding of God. If the mind of Christ - or the knowledge of God - has not been freely and equally given to ALL who are in Christ then we might as well chalk this whole Jesus-thing up as nothing more than the religion it appears to be. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got more to do with my time than to waste it on a finite knowledge-based religion!”-Jim Dear Jim, I can say with all honesty that I truly appreciate were you were/ are coming from here in these statements above. This statement of yours was my personal ‘mantra’ when first realizing that I had been born again. It is very funny, that in my remembrances of those days my concept of coming to God was that of coming to a ‘religion’. I was sincere about that, at the time. I saw safety and ‘set-apartedness’ in seeking after religion. For I had been smashed apart by life in THIS world so severely. I was beyond any repair or fix. It was sheer delight to discover something real in the midst of my seeking! For me to continue on with the ‘God thing’ I constantly testified to the reality within me: ‘if it aint real, I want not part of it’. It was raw, raw honesty on my part and it turned out„,i wouldn’t budge. Adam
theshovel's picture

Thanks for this, Adam! :)

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