You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
It is an exciting thing to become a follower of Jesus. We “put on the new self” and become more and more like God. “True righteousness and holiness” are qualities that only belong to God, but when we follow Jesus, we take on these qualities of Himself!
Awesome truth, awesome responsibility
Paul had to teach the church of Ephesus about changing their way of living and putting on the “new self.” Clearly, if we need to be taught, this does not come naturally or easily to us. People are not righteous, holy, or “like God” unless we are living in and living for Jesus. When we choose to follow him, He takes our sin on himself and gives us his righteousness for ourselves. (See 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21, or Galatians 2:20.)
Once we have this “new self” there is still ongoing action required. We “put off” the old and “put on” the new – these are action steps. We must continue to say no to “deceitful desires” no matter how tempting. We must allow God to change the “attitude of our minds” – and He will! He will continually challenge, reshape, and refresh our minds and our understanding by opening our eyes to his truth.
The attitude of your minds
Sin is led primarily by the “attitude of our minds.” Do we find things desirable or appealing which God has told us to avoid or reject? Eve did, and in Genesis 3 we read about the Fall of all mankind because her desire led to action. Adam followed on her heels, and then blamed her. Think about the pattern of your sin. When you think about something, you start to want it, which leads to pursuit, and eventually to action. God puts a heavy emphasis on the “attitude of your minds” and wants you to pursue him, not the world around you.
What are you thinking about, focusing on, and desiring? Are these things good in the eyes of God? Do they pull you up toward heaven, or draw you down toward earthly flesh?
You may find it helpful to take some time reflecting on the following Scriptures which help us see the power and need for changing “the attitude of our minds”: