ODJ: balance

April 4, 2015 

READ: Ephesians 4:17-32 

Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy (v.24).

In Surprised by Hope, N. T. Wright points out the imbalance of spending 40 days observing Lent while spending one day celebrating Easter. He suggests, “If Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up.”

Wright then proposes that the “forty days of Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by . . . some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving.” In other words, commit 40 days to doing something new that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection—His igniting of God’s new creation in our hearts and the world around us.

Wright’s idea to even out “giving up” with “taking up” is not only a great practice to consider; it also parallels the apostle Paul’s teaching to “throw off” and “put on” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Paul pleads with his readers to submit to the work of the Holy Spirit and throw off their “sinful nature” and “former way of life” that contrast the new creational way of life found in the risen Jesus. In its place, the apostle encourages them to “let the Spirit renew [their] thoughts and attitudes.” He writes, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God” (vv.23-24).

For example, Paul encourages them to replace lying with telling their neighbour the truth (v.25). He tells thieves to “quit stealing”, to find a job and to “give generously to others in need” (v.28). He says to stop using abusive language and to use only words that are “good and helpful” (v.29).

Following the risen Jesus isn’t only about throwing off the old nature. Empowered by His Spirit, it’s about putting on a renewed nature in its place—something made possible by the Lord’s Easter appearance.

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

Read Philippians 3:10-11 and consider what it says about knowing Jesus and His resurrection power. 
What are some things you need to change for God’s glory? What are some new things you need to pursue to