A Christian Meditation on Embracing Your “New Self” in Ephesians 4:22–24

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This is a podcast episode titled, A Christian Meditation on Embracing Your “New Self” in Ephesians 4:22–24. The summary for this episode is: <p>This kind of Christian meditation brings the transcendent experience of God into your mind and into your body so that you can replace anxiety, insecurity, stress and tension with the better and truer imagination of God’s infinite and intimate presence and love for YOU.</p><p><br></p><p>(If your podcast is set to skip silent sections, disable that now.)&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Like so much of the Bible, <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%204%3A22-24&amp;version=NIV" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Ephesians 4:22-24</a> is highly imaginative language. And it’s primarily giving you an image to imagine regarding your very <strong><em>identity</em></strong>. It’s trying to help you understand some mysterious unseen reality by giving you understandable imagery to imagine as true for you.</p><p><br></p><p>“<em>Your old self</em>” is some shadowy <strong><em>thing</em></strong> that is corrupt with deceitful desires that we are to actively and mindfully “put off.” It’s no longer the real you. It’s something else that’s always following you.</p><p><br></p><p>Thomas Merton called this thing the “<strong><em>false self</em></strong>.” He wrote, “Every one of us is <em>shadowed</em> by an illusory person: a false self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves — the ones we are born with and which feed the roots of sin. For most of the people in the world, there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs. A life devoted to the cult of this shadow is what is called a life of sin.”&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Body Meditation</strong></p><p>In a minute we’re going to meditate on Ephesians 4 (see timestamp below). But before that, let’s get your body in a good physical and spiritual disposition to meditate so that you can recalibrate your body and mind with God’s infinite wonder and intimate presence and love for you right now <em>in this moment</em>.</p><p><br></p><p>If you’re able, lie flat on your back, or sit comfortably in a chair. Uncross your legs. And close your eyes, if you can.</p><p><br></p><p>And when you’re ready, begin by taking in deep breaths into your belly — intentionally making your belly rise with each breath intake. And then with each exhale, focus on letting all your muscles soften and let go of tension.</p><p><br></p><p>Say quietly to yourself, “Relax.”</p><p><br></p><p>Try to bring your mind’s awareness to <em>feeling</em> your entire body (all at once) <em>feeling</em> heavier — feeling your whole body just releasing and letting go of holding yourself up.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>This <em>feeling</em> is a <em>sensation</em> that you actually can FEEL. Like when your body feels cold — you feel that sensation inside your body. This is like that, although it’s a quieter sensation. You don’t have to <em>do</em> anything. Just try to focus your mind’s awareness on feeling this sensation of feeling your body relaxing. Like a microphone on stage picking up the sound of the microphone coming through the speakers and creating an increasing feedback loop. It doesn’t require any effort on your part. Just focus your mind‘s awareness on feeling the sensation of your body relaxing — your entire body all at once now. <em>Feeling</em> your body <em>feeling</em> relaxed more and more.</p><p><br></p><p><em>Let’s take some time to focus your mind on specific parts of your body…</em></p><p><br></p><p>We take time to do this kind of body meditation to re-integrate our body with our mind and then we will meditate on God‘s word and imagine and feel God’s word into our body to re-integrate our body with spiritual reality. Over the years I have found this to be a very effective way of experiencing God’s transcendent presence and intimate love.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Continuing your slow, deep breaths, now bring your mind’s awareness back to feeling your <strong>entire body all at once</strong>. Use your imagination to feel your body from within — as if your mind is inside your entire body.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Bible Meditation</strong></p><p>Now let’s breathe spiritual life into our <em>body meditation</em> by adding in <em>biblical meditation</em> and <em>imagination</em>.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p><em>While keeping part of your attention always on feeling your body, let me read…</em></p><p><strong>Ephesians 4:22–24 ESV</strong></p><p>…Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and… be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.</p><p><br></p><p><em>Remember…</em></p><p><strong>Colossians 3:5 NIV</strong></p><p><strong>Put to death</strong>, therefore, whatever belongs to your <strong>earthly</strong> nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.</p><p><br></p><p><em>And this list continues in v.8…</em></p><p><strong>Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)</strong></p><p>…Anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language….(9) Since you have taken off your <strong>old self</strong> with its practices and have put on the <strong>new self</strong>, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.</p><p><br></p><p>This “<strong><em>earthly</em></strong> nature” — in the context of the rest of the Bible’s larger story — is referring to the thorns and thistles and dust and death of the earth without Eden — without Heaven’s presence on Earth.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>It’s the same thing as our “old self” that we are called to <em>put off</em> or <em>put to death</em>. It’s always <strong><em>fixated</em></strong> on something “earthly” without God’s presence and love. Something that we think we <strong><em>need</em></strong> in the moment, but we actually don’t need. But when we do not get it, we become angry, anxious, insecure, stressed.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>That’s what the Bible is referring to as your <em>earthly nature</em> and your <em>old self</em>.</p><p><br></p><p>This <strong><em>false self</em></strong> that always <em>shadows us</em> gets triggered when threatened, and it blocks our awareness of the security of God’s presence and love in that moment.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>This is one reason why so many people live in a kind of constant, low-grade anxiety — because they never recognize their “old self” when it triggers in them. Instead of recognizing it and putting it off as a false, shadowy self, they identify with it has the real them and put it on more and get more and more hijacked by its insecurity and fear and self protection and anxiety.</p><p><br></p><p>Anxiety is a sign that the false self is demanding we cater to its “needs” instead of putting it off and dying to it like the Bible says. Most of our anxiety and tension and self protective relational dysfunctions are generated by this <strong><em>false self</em></strong>. The false self overshadows us from <strong><em>perceiving God’s presence</em></strong> and <strong><em>receiving God’s love</em></strong> in this moment. It keeps us stuck in repeated cycles of worry and insecurity and fear and feeling threatened. Our false self will never bring about true freedom and life.</p><p><br></p><p><em>So use this meditation to imagine this reality into your body…</em></p><p><strong>Ephesians 4:22–24 ESV</strong></p><p>…Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and… be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and … put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.</p><p><br></p><p>The way we put off the old self and put on the new self is by the renewal of our mind — letting a better, truer imagination empower you with the life-giving desires of your new creation in the likeness of God in <em>true</em> righteousness and holiness.</p><p><br></p><p>Our false self hates those words, “righteousness and holiness.” Our shadowy self <em>redefines</em> and <em>reimagines</em> them as rigid and confining and boring. But in reality they are the exact opposite. TRUE <em>righteousness</em> and <em>holiness</em> are God’s splendor and power and beauty and glory and goodness and love and trustworthiness. As Colossians 3:1 said, there’s a sense in which we’ve already died and been raised to this new glory and beauty and righteousness and holiness. We are newly created in Christ — with Christ — to be like God himself! This was always God‘s intention — imagination — for us.</p><p><br></p><p>So right now, using <em>your</em> imagination, focus on breathing in your new self, and breathing out the old self.</p><p><br></p><p>Feel this in your body right now. Letting the Holy Spirit breathe his new creation and new life into you. <strong>Breathing in</strong> the likeness of God. Breathing in true righteousness. Breathing in true holiness.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Breathing out</strong> decay and corruption. The corrupted <em>thorns and thistles and dust and death</em> of your old self. Breathing out false, shadowy desires that lead to more thorns and thistles and dust and death. Feel this <em>reality</em> in your body using your biblically guided imagination.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Timestamps</strong>:</p><p>Body Meditation - 01:05&nbsp;-&nbsp;14:54</p><p>Bible Meditation: Ephesians 4:22-24 - 15:26&nbsp;-&nbsp;25:23</p><p>End of meditation prayer - 28:41&nbsp;-&nbsp;30:11</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Who can you share this podcast with? If you found this episode helpful, consider sharing it on social media or texting it to a friend you think might benefit from it.</strong></p><p><br></p><p>Follow Dave Cover on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/davecover" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">@davecover</a></p><p>Follow A Bigger Life on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/abiggerlifepod" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">@ABiggerLifePod</a></p><p><br></p><p>Our audio engineer is <a href="mailto:diego.huaman@thecrossingchurch.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Diego Huaman</a>.</p><p><br></p><p>This podcast is a ministry of <a href="https://www.thecrossingchurch.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Crossing</a>, a church in Columbia, Missouri, a college town where the flagship campus of the University of Missouri is located. </p>
Body Meditation
13:48 MIN
Bible Meditation: Ephesians 4:22-24
09:56 MIN
End of meditation prayer
01:30 MIN

Dave Cover: This is Christian Meditation for A Bigger Life. I'm Dave Cover. I want to help you with Christian meditation and experience God's presence through biblically guided imagination, where you can draw near to God and get the stress and anxiety out of your mind, out of your heart and out of your body so you can live a bigger life. Before we begin, if your podcast app is set to skip silent sections, disable that now for this episode. In a minute, we're going to meditate on Ephesians four versus 22 through 24. You can see the timestamp in your show notes if you want to skip to that. But I would suggest getting your body in a good physical and spiritual disposition to meditate so that you can recalibrate your body and mind with God's infinite wonder and intimate presence and love for you right now in this moment. So if you're able, lie flat on your back or sit comfortably in a chair, uncross your legs and close your eyes, if you can. And when you're ready, begin by taking in deep breath through your nose, into your belly, intentionally making your belly rise with each breath intake. And then with each exhale, focus on letting all your muscles in your body soften and let go of tension. Say quietly to yourself, relax. Try to bring your mind's awareness to feeling your entire body all at once, feeling heavier. Feeling your whole body just releasing and letting go of holding yourself up. Right now you don't have to hold yourself up. You can let go. This feeling is a sensation that you actually can feel like when your body feels cold. You feel that sensation inside your body. This is like that, although it's a quieter sensation. You don't have to do anything. Just try to focus your mind's awareness on feeling the sensation of your body relaxing. It doesn't really require any effort on your part. Just focus your mind's awareness on feeling the sensation of your body relaxing, your entire body all at once. Feeling your body feeling relaxed more and more. Try to imagine your mind going inside your body and feeling your entire body all at once. Feeling your body feeling relaxed. With each exhale, softening your muscles a little bit more, making your belly rise with each intake. Breathing through your nose, if you can. And with each exhale, let go, soften your muscles, release clenched muscles a little bit more in your entire body all at once. Now let's take some time to focus your mind on specific parts of your body. Let's begin by bringing your mind's awareness to your legs, both your legs at the same time. Your thighs, your knees, your calves, your ankles. Focus on feeling your legs in parallel with one another, both relaxing. Feel them both at the same time, letting go of tension, releasing clenched muscles. With each exhale, relaxing your legs a little bit more. Now, bring your mind's awareness to your feet, both feet at the same time. The upper part of your feet, your heels, the bottoms of your feet. There's something about feeling your feet that puts your mind in a disposition for meditation. Something about focusing your mind's awareness on both your feet, feeling the mass of your feet that helps you feel your entire body relax. Bring your mind's awareness to your toes. Try to become aware of all 10 toes. And now feel your legs and your feet and toes all at once. Making your belly rise with each intake and breathing relaxation into your legs, your ankles, your feet, your toes, and feel them all at once. We take time to do this kind of body meditation to reintegrate our body with our mind and then we will meditate on God's word and imagine and feel God's word into our body to reintegrate our body with spiritual reality. Over the years, I've found this to be a very effective way of experiencing God's transcendent presence and intimate love in this moment. Now bring your mind's awareness to your hips. Feeling both your hips and letting go of tension. Feeling your whole pelvic area, releasing clenched muscles. Now bring your mind's awareness up to your abdomen and feeling your belly rise with each intake. And then as you breathe out, feeling your belly let go of clenched muscles, releasing tension in your abdomen, letting go. Feel this in your diaphragm. Now your chest. Now bring your mind's awareness around to your back, your upper back. Letting go of tension in your upper back, releasing, softening your muscles. Breathing relaxation into your back. Now your lower back and down to your buttocks. And now bring your mind's awareness to your shoulders, the tops of your shoulders, your shoulder blades. Releasing clenched muscles. Letting go of tension, stress. Breathing relaxation into your shoulders with each exhale. Now moving down your arms, feeling both arms in parallel to one another, relaxing, letting go, softening your muscles and now into your hands and fingers. Now moving your mind's awareness up to your neck. Feeling your throat and behind the back of your neck, relaxing, softening, letting go. And now your jaw, releasing your jaw, letting your bottom teeth separate from your top teeth and focusing on your tongue. One big muscle softening and letting go all the way back in deep to your throat. Just letting it lie there without any tension at all. Your lips and now your cheeks. We often present a face to the world, holding our cheeks up in a certain way, but you can let that go now. You don't have to present a face to the world right now. Let your face drop. Now up to your eyes, letting your eyes sink deep into their sockets, letting the muscles around behind your eyes completely let go. Completely lie there released of tension. Now up to your forehead, the top of your head, your scalp. With every exhale, just release and let go of tension in your scalp. And now the back of your head, using your imagination toward the bottom of the back of your head, inside your scalp, that part of your brain is your limbic system. This is where your fight or flight sympathetic nerve system is. This is all imagination, but using your imagination, imagine your limbic system letting go of fight or flight, releasing stress, releasing its sympathetic self-protective mode and just relaxing. You're not in danger. You're not under threat. You're relaxed. You're calm. Continuing your slow deep breaths. Now bring your mind's awareness back to feeling your entire body all at once. Use your imagination to feel your body from within as if your mind is inside your entire body. Try to feel your head, your hands, your feet all at once, relaxing, being calm. Now let's breathe spiritual life into our body meditating by adding in biblical meditation and imagination. So while keeping part of your attention always on feeling your body, let's also meditate on Ephesians four, verse 22 through 24. I'm going to read most of it, skipping a few words to help it make better sense to us. Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Like so much of the Bible, this is highly imaginative language and it's primarily giving you an image to imagine regarding your very identity. It's trying to help you understand some mysterious, unseen reality by giving you understandable imagery to imagine is true for you. Your old self is some shadowy thing that is corrupt with deceitful desires that we are to actively and mindfully put off. It's no longer the real you. It's something else that's always following you. The Bible calls it your old self or earthly nature. Thomas Martin called this thing, the false self. He wrote," Every one of us is shadowed by an elusory person, a false self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves, the ones we are born with and which feed the roots of sin. For most of the people in the world there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs. A life devoted to the cult of this shadow is what is called a life of sin." Remember Colossians 3: 5 in our last episode, put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, and this list continues in verse eight of Colossians three, just a few verses down, anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. Since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator, like we said in the last episode, this earthly nature in the context of the rest of the Bible's larger story is referring to the thorns and thistles and dust and death of the earth without Eden, without heaven's presence on earth. It's the same thing as our old self that we are called to put off or put to death. It's always fixated on something earthly without God's presence and love, something that we think we need in the moment but we actually don't need. But when we do not get it, we become angry, anxious, insecure, stressed, greedy, lustful. That's what the Bible is referring to as your earthly nature and your old self. This false self that always shadows us gets triggered when threatened and it blocks our awareness of the security of God's presence and love for us in that moment. This is one reason why so many people live in a kind of constant low- grade anxiety because they never recognize their old self when it triggers in them. Instead of recognizing it and putting it off as a false shadowy itself, they identify with it as the real them and put it on more and more and get more and more hijacked by its insecurity and fear and self protection and anxiety. So anxiety is actually a sign that the false self is demanding we cater to its needs instead of putting it off and dying to it like the Bible says. Most of our anxiety and tension and self- protective relational dysfunctions are generated by this false self, this shadowy itself. The false self overshadows us from perceiving God's presence and receiving God's love in the moment. It keeps us stuck in repeated cycles of worry and insecurity and fear and feeling threatened. Our false self will never bring about true freedom in life. So use this meditation to imagine this reality into your body. Let me read the verse again, put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Feel that verse, the imagination of that verse into your body right now. Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Notice what it says, the way we put off the old self and put on the new self is by the renewal of our mind, letting a better, truer imagination empower you with the life- giving desires of your new creation and the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Our false self hates those words, righteousness and holiness. Our shadowy itself redefines and reimagines them as rigid and confining and boring. But in reality, they are the exact opposite. True righteousness and holiness are God's splendor and power and beauty and glory and goodness and love and joy and trustworthiness. As Colossians 3: 1 said in a previous episode, there's a sense in which we've already died and have been raised to this new glory and beauty and righteousness and holiness. We are newly created in Christ with Christ to be like God himself. This was always God's intention. God's imagination for us. So right now, using your imagination, focus on breathing in your new self, your new self into your body, your new self into your mind, and breathing out the old self. Feel this in your body right now, letting the holy spirit breathe his new creation and new life into you, breathing in the likeness of God, breathing in true righteousness, breathing in true holiness. This has always been God's imagination for you. God's intention for you. This is why he became human in the person of Jesus, did the miracles to show this new creation and what it looks like and what it will look like for you, died on the cross to take on your death on him and broke through the other side of death and rose from the dead so that you can have newness of life fully in a resurrection like his, when he returns. But even now by the renewal of your mind, even now, by putting on your new self, which is created in God's likeness and true righteousness and holiness. Feel this in your body right now, breathing in your new self, breathing in God's new creation, letting the holy spirit breathe his new creation and new life into you with each breath, breathing in the very likeness of God in Christ in you, God's spirit in you. Your body is a temple of his holy spirit. Your body is a temple of the likeness of God breathing in true righteousness, breathing in true holiness. Breathing out your old self, breathing out decay and corruption and deception. Breathing out the deceitful desires of the corrupted shadowy itself that's no longer you. It's not who you are. The corrupted thorns and thistles and dust and death of your old self, breathing it out. Breathing out false shadowy desires that lead to more thorns and thistles and dust and death in your life that lead to anxiety, triggered fears and insecurities, self- protective dysfunctional relationships. With each exhale, breathe out the old self and feel this reality in your body, using your biblically guided imagination. Feel this in your entire body all at once, breathing in your new self by the renewing of your mind, letting God's spirit breathe into you the likeness of God, newly created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. True righteousness and holiness, which is love and joy and peace, glory, power and beauty. Feel this in your whole body all at once. Let me pray, heavenly father, I put off my old self, the false self, the shadowy self, which belongs to my former manner of life and is false. It's corrupt through deceitful desires. I put off these deceitful desires. I don't want them to be part of my life. Thank you that I've been crucified with Christ and it's no longer the abandoned shadowy false self that it lives but now it's Christ that lives in me, newly created to be like God, in true righteousness and holiness. True righteousness and holiness. I breathe in and embrace your glory, your beauty, your transcendent wonder, the security of your presence, the intimacy of your love for me. I breathe in your faithfulness, your trustworthiness. I breathe in your joy, your peace, and I am secure in your infinite presence and your intimate love. In Jesus name, amen. If you found this podcast helpful, please subscribe so you'll be sure to receive our next episode each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Our audio engineer is Diego Huaman. Thanks for listening to Christian Meditation for A Bigger Life.

DESCRIPTION

This kind of Christian meditation brings the transcendent experience of God into your mind and into your body so that you can replace anxiety, insecurity, stress and tension with the better and truer imagination of God’s infinite and intimate presence and love for YOU.

(If your podcast is set to skip silent sections, disable that now.) 

Like so much of the Bible, Ephesians 4:22-24 is highly imaginative language. And it’s primarily giving you an image to imagine regarding your very identity. It’s trying to help you understand some mysterious unseen reality by giving you understandable imagery to imagine as true for you.

Your old self” is some shadowy thing that is corrupt with deceitful desires that we are to actively and mindfully “put off.” It’s no longer the real you. It’s something else that’s always following you.

Thomas Merton called this thing the “false self.” He wrote, “Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves — the ones we are born with and which feed the roots of sin. For most of the people in the world, there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs. A life devoted to the cult of this shadow is what is called a life of sin.” 

Body Meditation

In a minute we’re going to meditate on Ephesians 4 (see timestamp below). But before that, let’s get your body in a good physical and spiritual disposition to meditate so that you can recalibrate your body and mind with God’s infinite wonder and intimate presence and love for you right now in this moment.

If you’re able, lie flat on your back, or sit comfortably in a chair. Uncross your legs. And close your eyes, if you can.

And when you’re ready, begin by taking in deep breaths into your belly — intentionally making your belly rise with each breath intake. And then with each exhale, focus on letting all your muscles soften and let go of tension.

Say quietly to yourself, “Relax.”

Try to bring your mind’s awareness to feeling your entire body (all at once) feeling heavier — feeling your whole body just releasing and letting go of holding yourself up. 

This feeling is a sensation that you actually can FEEL. Like when your body feels cold — you feel that sensation inside your body. This is like that, although it’s a quieter sensation. You don’t have to do anything. Just try to focus your mind’s awareness on feeling this sensation of feeling your body relaxing. Like a microphone on stage picking up the sound of the microphone coming through the speakers and creating an increasing feedback loop. It doesn’t require any effort on your part. Just focus your mind‘s awareness on feeling the sensation of your body relaxing — your entire body all at once now. Feeling your body feeling relaxed more and more.

Let’s take some time to focus your mind on specific parts of your body…

We take time to do this kind of body meditation to re-integrate our body with our mind and then we will meditate on God‘s word and imagine and feel God’s word into our body to re-integrate our body with spiritual reality. Over the years I have found this to be a very effective way of experiencing God’s transcendent presence and intimate love. 

Continuing your slow, deep breaths, now bring your mind’s awareness back to feeling your entire body all at once. Use your imagination to feel your body from within — as if your mind is inside your entire body.

Bible Meditation

Now let’s breathe spiritual life into our body meditation by adding in biblical meditation and imagination

While keeping part of your attention always on feeling your body, let me read…

Ephesians 4:22–24 ESV

…Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and… be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Remember…

Colossians 3:5 NIV

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

And this list continues in v.8…

Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)

…Anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language….(9) Since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

This “earthly nature” — in the context of the rest of the Bible’s larger story — is referring to the thorns and thistles and dust and death of the earth without Eden — without Heaven’s presence on Earth. 

It’s the same thing as our “old self” that we are called to put off or put to death. It’s always fixated on something “earthly” without God’s presence and love. Something that we think we need in the moment, but we actually don’t need. But when we do not get it, we become angry, anxious, insecure, stressed. 

That’s what the Bible is referring to as your earthly nature and your old self.

This false self that always shadows us gets triggered when threatened, and it blocks our awareness of the security of God’s presence and love in that moment. 

This is one reason why so many people live in a kind of constant, low-grade anxiety — because they never recognize their “old self” when it triggers in them. Instead of recognizing it and putting it off as a false, shadowy self, they identify with it has the real them and put it on more and get more and more hijacked by its insecurity and fear and self protection and anxiety.

Anxiety is a sign that the false self is demanding we cater to its “needs” instead of putting it off and dying to it like the Bible says. Most of our anxiety and tension and self protective relational dysfunctions are generated by this false self. The false self overshadows us from perceiving God’s presence and receiving God’s love in this moment. It keeps us stuck in repeated cycles of worry and insecurity and fear and feeling threatened. Our false self will never bring about true freedom and life.

So use this meditation to imagine this reality into your body…

Ephesians 4:22–24 ESV

…Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and… be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and … put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

The way we put off the old self and put on the new self is by the renewal of our mind — letting a better, truer imagination empower you with the life-giving desires of your new creation in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Our false self hates those words, “righteousness and holiness.” Our shadowy self redefines and reimagines them as rigid and confining and boring. But in reality they are the exact opposite. TRUE righteousness and holiness are God’s splendor and power and beauty and glory and goodness and love and trustworthiness. As Colossians 3:1 said, there’s a sense in which we’ve already died and been raised to this new glory and beauty and righteousness and holiness. We are newly created in Christ — with Christ — to be like God himself! This was always God‘s intention — imagination — for us.

So right now, using your imagination, focus on breathing in your new self, and breathing out the old self.

Feel this in your body right now. Letting the Holy Spirit breathe his new creation and new life into you. Breathing in the likeness of God. Breathing in true righteousness. Breathing in true holiness. 

Breathing out decay and corruption. The corrupted thorns and thistles and dust and death of your old self. Breathing out false, shadowy desires that lead to more thorns and thistles and dust and death. Feel this reality in your body using your biblically guided imagination.

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