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Posts Tagged ‘Old Man’

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“And Ruth said, ‘Urge me not to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people and your God my God, …’”. (Ruth 1:16)

How was it that Ruth could be so done with her past life, her past position in Moab, her past idolatry? Imagine peering over a steep cliff at night from the precarious position of a slim shelf of safety. As the moonlight shifts from behind clouds, you gasp as you see the black hole into which you narrowly escaped tumbling! Shock and terror momentarily grip you, but you will never forget that inky blackness, its nothingness and the certainty of death, and the grace that held you back from destruction.

Even though Naomi’s heart was heavy with grief over her family losses, she carried with her the faith that the Lord had visited her home in Bethlehem, and there was now food there.

Ruth had seen the death and darkness of her old existence. It could offer her nothing. So it was not difficult for her to commit so fully to follow Naomi as she returned. The contrast for Ruth had to be dramatic! Naomi was heading out of darkness, and lack, and travail towards life.  The aromatic promise of fresh bread, and grain, and wine, and greens drew Naomi homeward.  But the future kiss of fellowship and communion with her people and with her God soothed her even where she yet stood as a living balm across the starving edges of her soul.  She was going home!

This hopefulness stood like a beacon before Ruth.  There was nothing to debate, no reason to reconsider. The reality of what she escaped propelled her toward life, toward Naomi’s home and her people, and especially towards her God.

But Ruth did not carry into Bethlehem a plan to reinvent her old self in a new location. In the dust of Moab she left behind all that she was and all that she had tried to be.

She was postured for the new as she came into Bethlehem. But her posture was one of devotion, caring, protection for Naomi, and also the humility to come in the lowest manner – as one who would glean in the fields where she would find favor.

I find this profound:  Ruth’s capacity to not only leave it all behind, but to forget it all – not just Moab and her life, but even herself.  This is also important for you and I as we daily continue our journey into the Promised Land and the Presence of God.

In having packed our bags to enter salvation, we often include old baggage.  We fail to leave behind old ways of thinking, old notions of who we are, but also how we are – what defines us.  I find Ruth’s example to be one I need to revisit.

What is still packed in my bags that needs to be dumped?  Are there old fears, old insecurities, old wounds that are going to hinder my ability to live fruitfully or fulfill the call on my life?

It is time to reckon ourselves anew as being dead to sin (that which misses the mark) and alive to God! This day it is time to allow the ministry of the Holy Spirit the freedom that is His to mortify the flesh that has stowed away on this journey of life. It is there to sabotage success!

Romans 8:13 reveals:  For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.”

It was not just enough for Ruth to leave Moab and enter Bethlehem, it was necessary for her to leave all of her personal “Moab” behind, and pick up her “Bethlehem.”

Likewise, it is not enough for you and I to leave all our “old man nature of the flesh.” But we must pick up the new nature of the Spirit of the life of Christ, the “new nature” and let it occupy us today.

This is what is meant in 2 Cor5:17 where it says:

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”

Believe it! Receive it! Walk it out today!  And if you should see any vestiges of Moab life trailing you behind like toilet paper stuck to your shoe, don’t fret or bemoan that fact. Cut them loose and claim the truth of the word as yours today. Press into it and let the Lord do a full work! He is able!!!!

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