The Lord has given me the delightful privilege of meeting with a new believer in a discipleship relationship.
After our initial meeting to investigate whether we are a good match for one another, we spent the next session talking through expectations, desires, needs ... and purpose.
What are we striving for? What do we desire to accomplish? What is our goal for our bi-monthly meetings?
And then I remembered the passage in Scripture that was presented during our leadership training for the youth group. I grabbed my Bible, looked it up, and BAM! That was it!
We had our purpose - and our theme.
And then I realized - it is not just fitting for this precious young woman ... it is fitting for ALL discipleship relationships. According to Titus 2, we as older women are to be teaching younger women. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
This is a big deal!
This is important!
And it is incredibly humbling.
Because in order for older women to TEACH such things, they must be LIVING OUT these very characteristics in their own lives.
As I read the passage it became clear that while it is a perfect model for teaching a young woman/young believer how to walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh, it is also a perfect model for the older woman/more mature believer to continue imitating so she may grow more like Christ day by day.
In short - it is a terrific model for a reciprocal, mutually encouraging relationship that will be a challenge and comfort to both women as they pursue Christ - together.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-24
Isn't this great??
PUT OFF your old self.
Everything you did before Christ - remove it! You are a new creation. Your desires for the things of the world must fade away until they are no longer visible.
But this does not mean you disappear!
We put off the old self - and PUT ON the new self! The things of Christ. The fruits of the Spirit.
And when we do, we are even more beautiful because instead of reflecting ourselves - we reflect our Savior.
It is not a one time event, however.
Our sin nature does not evaporate at the moment of salvation. It remains within us, but with less power because the Holy Spirit is also living within us - able to give us the strength and desire to say NO to the enticements of the world, and YES to Christ.
Think of it like changing after a workout.
You peel off the sweaty, stinky, dirty clothing.
And then, you put on clean, unwrinkled, fresh-smelling clothes.
Aah! Such a nice change!
That is the continual exercise of the believer.
Put off the old ways - the LIES of satan and the world.
Put on TRUTH!
God's promises. His character. His ways. His dealings with His children. His holiness.
For every stinky, sweaty lie you take off,
it must be replaced with the truth of your heavenly Father.
It will take time. You do not know Him. You do not understand His ways. The pull of the world is quite strong and you have been a slave to it for years, perhaps decades. Learning a new way of thinking, speaking, behaving, and living requires a heart and mind that are willing to be INTENTIONAL.
Every ugly, evil, lustful, lying, jealous, self-loathing thought MUST BE REPLACED with the truth that you are a beautiful, loved, forgiven, and cherished child of God! A child who can learn to be kind, thoughtful, content, and confident - IN CHRIST - because He promises that the work He began in you will continue until He returns to take you Home!
But I promise! The more you replace the old with the new - the lies with the truth - the easier it will become! It will feel natural, though never effortless. Our flesh refuses to yield and must be constantly put in its place. But you know what? You will never be doing it on your own! You have the power of Christ to draw from ... a well that never runs dry. This is EXCITING! This is AMAZING!
God says, "Be ye holy as I am holy."
And this starts by ridding ourselves of the "old" - and replacing it with the "new." The joy, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness of a wonderful and loving God who desires to give good things to His children.
It is His job to give good things. It is our job to dispose of and destroy the bad.
Thank You, Lord for this Discipleship Theme! I LOVE it, and am so excited to have a purpose and a plan for our time together as sisters in Christ. What a privilege it is to be allowed into the heart of another, and what a JOY it is to see them look less like themselves and more like YOU!