…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind… Ephesians 4:22-23
A Hindu was sitting in the market square in an Indian village. He observed a man selling live quail. Each quail was attached by a string to a brass ring that was threaded onto a bamboo pole set in the ground. The quail were walking in circles around the pole, pecking at the ground. The Hindu, being a vegetarian, was troubled at the sight of all these birds destined for the pot. He approached the seller and, after a short discussion, he handed over some money and the seller set all the birds free. Imagine, then, the Hindu’s dismay when the birds did not fly off to the forest, but continued walking in circles as if they were still bound by invisible bonds. We may chuckle at the thought of this, but it illustrates precisely the problem that Paul is addressing in these verses in Ephesians 4. Christ has set us free by His blood. He has liberated us through a powerful baptism with the Holy Spirit. Now we must break the power of old habits in our minds and our wills. The grooves in our minds and imaginations have been worn deep by long self-indulgence, and now that we are Christ’s, we need to break with the habits of a lifetime. As human beings, we love habits, but the power of the Holy Spirit is within us to break them, and to enable us to create new ones. Catch yourself, in your humour, in your habits of speech and of thought that do not honour the Lord, and resolve to crumple them up like old newspapers and throw them away. You will be surprised at the resources that are at your disposal to form the character of Christ in you. Christ has set us free from the power of sin, but we must learn to walk away from it.
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