God made us new from the inside, but we need to actively put on the new man. One of the practical ways we can put on the new man is to do everything we can to strengthen him.
You know what God is saying to you, Christian? You have potential energy. It may not be active right now, but you’re called upon to exercise it. And the reality is that as you seek to exercise it, you’ll find that you have it. Joshua and I were riding our bikes out in Colorado up this long relatively steep climb and it just went on straight. It was really hard. He and I are huffing. This woman – she was probably in her 60’s, she just goes cruising past us. She was on an e-bike. You know what an e-bike is? It assists. It’s like as you pedal, if you put 100 watts into it, it matches it with another 100 watts. So she basically has an electric bike that is supplementing power. Now look, I’m not saying in living the Christian life any of the power is ours, but you know as well as I do that you have the ability to initiate, and as you initiate, you’re going to find much like that e-bike that wow, God is helping me. God is enabling me. There is something here. Brethren, you know how God has designed the muscle? You know one of the things that’s so addictive about going to the gym or exercise? You get somebody maybe that’s never done it before and so they’re like “it doesn’t have much attraction to me,” but you get them there, and you know if you can get somebody to consistently work out and maybe even correct their diet a little bit just for like two weeks, do you know what happens? Any idea what happens? God has designed our muscles. And you know, bringing this muscle thing in; bringing physical exercise in is consistent with Scripture. You have a text that says have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train or exercise or discipline yourselves for godliness. So obviously the apostle himself is likening us in the spiritual realm over against the physical realm. He sees discipline and exercise in the physical realm as being a good analogy to describe what happens in the spiritual. And you think about these muscles. And the reality is the way God has designed muscles and one of the reasons that physical fitness can become so intoxicating, is because you start to use your muscles and what happens? They suddenly start getting bigger and where you were bench pressing one thing one time, you notice all of a sudden several months later, you’re able to do significantly more – maybe double what you were able to do. That’s the way God’s designed us, but you know in the spiritual realm, you don’t want to be far off from that because the reality is if you begin to exercise yourself, what you will find is that God has designed spiritual muscles that come right out of what this new man is that you will be able to clothe yourself. You draw on this strength, you draw on this reality, and you say I have the new man in me. This is not only possible – God wants me to do this for His glory. He wants me to be robed with these righteous deeds. He wants me to be robed with zeal. He wants me to be robed with humility. He wants me to be robed with compassion. He wants these things from me. (incomplete thought) You know what happens? How do you start exercising the muscles properly? Well, you have to tell yourself: You’re going to the gym. Ah, I don’t feel like it. No, you’re going to the gym. You’re going to take that bike ride. You’re going to get on that treadmill. No, I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel strong today. That’s what happens in the physical. But you tell your muscles: No, you’re going to do that. And you’re going to eat right. You’re going to take that smoothie. You’re going to take that protein drink. You’re going to stop eating the garbage, the bear claws, the candy bars, drinking the soda. You see, that discipline sets in. But what Scripture is saying is you, Christian, have the new man. Apply yourself. Give yourself to this. You don’t realize what a muscle is capable of until you begin to use them. And then you’re surprised at the strength! You’re surprised at how your body grows. You’re surprised at how your body responds. You’re surprised at how God has designed the muscle to be able to do a whole lot more than you ever thought it could do because you gave yourself to this. You exercise yourself. And all of a sudden you’re surprised at the strength and the power you’re capable of. So it is with the new man spiritually. So how do we do this? I would just say this: this is pretty logical, but pack this away – If you want to take this Christian life seriously, then take this seriously. Use everything at your disposal that you know feeds and helps to strengthen and build up the new man. Look, if you want to get maximum impact from developing your muscles, what are you going to do? I’ll tell you what you’re going to do, you’re going to consider every way that you can possibly make those muscles stronger and you’re going to apply yourself to that. You’re going to give them the proper nutrition and the proper exercise to bring about the result that you want. And I would say this, that new man is in you. Do everything possible – you know, make no provision for the flesh. Don’t make provision for anything that has to do with your old corrupt life. And feed the new man. Give the new man the sustenance that is necessary; the exercise that is most likely to make him grow. Look, don’t just do this hit and miss. You have to be constant. You know one of the things that makes for those Christians that really make a difference and turn the world upside down and get remembered? When you look at their life, they were consistent. You know one of the things that just destroys clothing yourself with the new man is inconsistency. It’s like spanking your children. You know the sure-fire way to have a bunch of rebel children is be super inconsistent. One of the ways here just to mess this whole thing up is inconsistency. Inconsistent in Scripture, inconsistent in walking with the Lord in your prayer life, inconsistent in fasting, inconsistent as Craig was saying in the first hour about just being in the church where you get built up, where you stir up one another to love and good works and all these one-anothers that he’s going to look at next time. This excerpt is from the full sermon: The Christian is a New Man