22 Change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. 23 Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit 24 and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.
This year graduation looked very different for many students because of the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure the safety of middle and high school graduates, they wore their caps and gowns while standing on their lawns next to their high school’s signs. Some high schools had multiple graduation days of socially distanced ceremonies. Large ceremonies at colleges were cancelled altogether. For many parents and students it was hard not to be able to experience a “normal” graduation. Society views the graduation ceremony as an important rite of passage on the way to adulthood. Graduates put on the cap and gown, and move the tassel over to the left side, symbolizing moving on to a new life and leaving the old life behind. However, here’s what every teacher will tell you: “the learning never ends, it’s just beginning!”
As people of faith, Paul is telling us that Christ is our teacher and our example of the new life we are to live as believers. In the same way we change clothes, we are to put off our sinful selves, what we were before we were redeemed by Christ, and put on “the new person created according to God’s image.” This “new person” that we put on has been redeemed and born anew through God’s grace in Jesus Christ. We no longer belong to the sinful world, we belong to the Kin(g)-dom of God, and we put on our “new person,” who has been created in God’s image “in justice and true holiness.”
How are we ever going to live a life of justice and holiness? It seems impossible – we aren’t perfect. We still struggle to follow Jesus and love each other as God loves us. As people of faith, we still battle against sin, injustice, racism and hate. Paul tells us we can’t do this by our own will, but we can renew the thinking of our minds by the Holy Spirit. While we often fail, It’s only through the Holy Spirit that’s within us, at work perfecting us, loving us, and strengthening us, that we can be able to grow to live a holy life filled with God’s love.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed that as people of faith, we can grow and mature to become filled with the love of God. Wesley said, “we’re going onto perfection.” As people of faith, with Jesus as our teacher, the learning never ends. We need to ask God to renew our minds each day so that we can grow in God’s love, and we can embody the love of God for others.
Prayer: Loving God, we invite you into all the areas of our lives and ask your Holy Spirit to renew our minds, so that we may continue to grow in your grace and love for others. Amen.