As a coach and avid sports fan, I really enjoy watching game films. But, the film I watch as a coach is much different from the film I watch as a fan.
As a coach, I watch films of the upcoming opponent. Through their game film, I see their strengths and weaknesses, tendencies and schemes. I see their strongest players, weakest players, and everything in between. I see the way they line up against formations, and the pace at which they play. As a coach, I’m investigating my opponent; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As a sports fan, I watch highlight reels. I don’t sit down and watch the entire game film to evaluate or enjoy one player’s performance. Somebody has already done the dirty work. Somebody has already cut out all the mediocre, so I can enjoy the outstanding. Somebody has already cut out the fumbles, interceptions, missed blocks, and missed tackles. Now, in a short, condensed version, I can see the best of the best; the cream of the crop.
Social media has given the world an insight into the highlight reel of life. Through Facebook, Instagram, tik tok and whatever comes next, we see only the best of the best and the cream of the crop. In our flesh, we can’t help but mindlessly scroll the highlight reels of life, comparing, contrasting, wishing, hoping, and lusting over the life we don’t have.
In Ephesians 4:21-25 Paul wrote, “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. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Paul begins with an assumption. Paul assumes that you have been saved by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Once the foundation is laid, Paul builds the house. Paul commands us to “put off your old self” because it is “corrupt through deceitful desires”. Once you have put that off, Paul says to replace it with a renewed mind, “the new self”, which was “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Next comes the verse that we usually don’t connect with the previous paragraph: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
We can glean 4 truths from this passage:
First, until the foundation of salvation is poured, the new construction cannot be built. Until we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, we are unable to build the house God’s way. Unless we truly repent of our sin, turn to Christ, and fall at his feet as Lord and Savior, we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).
Second, our old self is corrupt in its desires. Even though it seems so tempting to stay where you are, obedience to Christ demands leaving the old self behind. When we are baptized, we are immersed in the water, revealing our death to the old self. We are raised up out of the water, Just as Christ was raised from the grave, signifying our new life in Jesus Christ. Part of our obedience to Christ is laying in the tomb with nothing, so we can be raised to everything.
Third, once the old self has been put off, God will renew your mind to righteousness and holiness. By the power of the Holy Spirit at work within you, God will begin renewing the operational plan of your mind. Just like your sin patterns were not developed overnight, neither will your righteous thoughts be established in a day. This takes consistent meditation on the Word of God, prayer in dependence on the Holy Spirit to work in you, and persistent application.
Finally, we can put away the falsehood, we can put away the fake, plastic front. We can put away the fraudulent smile that says everything is fine, when everything is actually falling apart. Church, don’t try to skip right to verse 25 in your application. Paul instructs us to go through the process for a reason. Whether you are in verse 21 or 25, God is faithful and prepared to gift you the necessary grace.
Vulnerability is the antidote to hypocrisy. As the church grows in vulnerability, the world loses its ability to deny the power of the Gospel because of the Church’s hypocrisy. Let the brothers and sisters in on your suffering. Let them in on your fears. Through our game film called life, the world will see authentic, vulnerable, redeemed people, living by the life-giving power through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Bring the world into your messy living room, your cluttered kitchen, and your noisy dining room table. They will be blessed to know that Christ works, even through the least of these.