Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him—Col. 3: 9, 10.
Only in our minds, in our wills, have the old things passed away and all things become new. Actually, this change will be accomplished when this mortal shall have put on immortality, when this corruptible shall be raised in incorruption—raised in glory, in power, as spirit beings. But meantime, in order to be counted worthy of a share in the resurrection of the just, it is required of us that we shall demonstrate our willingness of mind, our earnest desire to be all that the Lord would have us be; and in no way can this be better demonstrated to the Lord and to ourselves, or prove more helpful, than by keeping a strict surveillance of our hearts and of our thoughts.
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God's people have put off the old man in the sense of giving up the human will selfward and worldward. They have put on the new man, in the sense of taking God's will as their own, not only in human but also in spiritual respects. Thus the image of God is being daily renewed in them, as they are being changed from the glory of a less near to the glory of a more near likeness, until the image, character, of God is perfected in them. And the means by which this change is wrought is the Word of God understandingly received into, and faithfully practiced by, good and honest hearts, amid life's experiences.
Parallel passages: Eph. 2: 10; 4: 22, 24, 25; Rom. 6: 4, 6, 13, 14; 12: 2; Ezek. 36: 26; 2Cor. 3: 18; 4: 6; 5: 17; Psa. 51: 10; 1Pet. 1: 15, 16; Gal. 6: 15; Titus 2: 11, 12; Gen. 1: 27.
Questions: What have been this week's experiences with the old man and the new man? How were they met? In what did they result?
THE CHANGED CROSS
IT was a time of sadness, and my heart,
Although it knew and loved the better part,
Felt wearied with the conflict and the strife,
And all the needful discipline of life.
And while I thought of these as given to me—
My trial tests of faith and love to be—
It seemed as if I never could be sure
That faithful to the end I should endure.
And thus no longer trusting to His might,
Who saith we "walk by faith and not by sight,"
Doubting, and almost yielding to despair,
The thought arose—My cross I cannot bear.
Far heavier its weight must surely be
Than those of others which I daily see;
Oh! if I might another burden choose,
Methinks I should not fear my crown to lose.
A solemn silence reigned on all around—
E'en Nature's voices uttered not a sound;
The evening shadows seemed of peace to tell,
And sleep upon my weary spirit fell.
A moment's pause, and then a heavenly light
Beamed full upon my wondering, raptured sight;
Angels on silvery wings seemed everywhere,
And angels' music thrilled the balmy air.
Then One, more fair than all the rest to see—
One to whom all others bowed the knee—
Came gently to me as I trembling lay,
And, "Follow Me," He said, "I am the Way."
Then speaking, thus, He led me far above;
And there beneath a canopy of love,
Crosses of divers shape and size were seen,
Larger and smaller than mine own had been.
And one there was most beauteous to behold—
A little one, with jewels set in gold;
Ah! this, methought, I can with comfort wear,
For it will be an easy one to bear.
And so the little cross I quickly took,
But all at once my frame beneath it shook;
The sparkling jewels, fair were they to see,
But far too heavy was their weight for me.
This may not be, I cried, and looked again,
To see if any here could ease my pain;
But one by one I passed them slowly by,
Till on a lovely one I cast mine eye;
Fair flowers around its sculptured form entwined,
And grace and beauty seemed in it combined;
Wondering, I gazed, and still I wondered more
To think so many should have passed it o'er.
But, oh! that form so beautiful to see
Soon made its hidden sorrows known to me;
Thorns lay beneath those flowers and colors fair:
Sorrowing, I said, "This cross I may not bear."
And so it was with each and all around—
Not one to suit my need could there be found;
Weeping, I laid each heavy burden down,
As my Guide gently said, "No cross, no crown!"
At length to Him I raised my saddened heart;
He knew its sorrow, bid its doubts depart.
"Be not afraid," He said, "but trust in Me—
My perfect love shall now be shown to thee."
And then, with lightened eyes and willing feet,
Again I turned, mine earthly cross to meet,
With forward footsteps, turning not aside,
For fear some hidden evil might betide.
And there, in the prepared, appointed way—
Listening to hear and ready to obey—
A cross I quickly found of plainest form,
With only words of love inscribed thereon.
With thankfulness I raised it from the rest,
And joyfully acknowledged it the best—
The only one of all the many there
That I could feel was good for me to bear.
And while I thus my chosen one confessed,
I saw a heavenly brightness on it rest;
And as I bent, my burden to sustain,
I recognized mine own old cross again!
But, oh! how different did it seem to be,
Now I had learned its preciousness to see!
No longer could I unbelieving say,
Perhaps another is a better way.
Ah, no! henceforth mine own desire shall be
That He who knows me best should choose for me;
And so whate'er His love sees good to send,
I'll trust it's best, because He knows the end.
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