by Neil Anderson
Romans 8:12, 13
We are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die
When I was in the Navy, we called the captain of our ship “the Old Man.” Our Old Man was tough and crusty and nobody liked him. He used to go out drinking with all his chiefs while belittling and harassing his junior officers and making life miserable for the rest of us. He was not a good example of a naval officer. So when our Old Man got transferred to another ship, we all rejoiced. It was a great day for our ship.
Then we got a new skipper–a new Old Man. The old Old Man no longer had any authority over us; he was gone–completely out of the picture. But I was trained under that Old Man. So how do you think I related to the new Old Man? At first I responded to him just like I had been conditioned to respond to the old skipper. I tiptoed around him expecting him to bite my head off. That’s how I had lived for two years around my first skipper.
But as I got to know the new skipper, I realized that he wasn’t a crusty old tyrant like my old Old Man. He wasn’t out to harass his crew; he was a good guy, really concerned about us. But I had been programmed for two years to react a certain way when I saw a captain’s braids. I didn’t need to react that way any longer, but it took several months to recondition myself to the new skipper.
You also once served under a cruel, self-serving skipper: your old sinful self with its sinful nature. The admiral of that fleet is Satan himself, the prince of darkness. But by God’s grace you have been transferred into Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13). You now have a new skipper: your new self which is infused with the divine nature of Jesus Christ, your new admiral. As a child of God, a saint, you are no longer under the authority of your old Old Man. He is dead, buried, gone forever.
So why do you still react as if your old skipper were still in control of your behavior? We’ll answer that question tomorrow.
Prayer: Praise You, Lord, that my relationship with my old skipper, that old sinful self, is gone. I choose to live today in the realty of my new nature in Christ.