Christian Articles Archive

Leaving Old Skins Behind

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Lizards, snakes, and spiders have something in common. No. It's not their yukiness. They leave old skins behind. You've seen it. You happen upon a long scaly skin, split at the top where the growing lizard broke free and wriggled out. Unless the lizard stops eating it has to shed its skin. The skin left behind is a sure sign that the lizard is growing. Growing lizards can't be stuck in the straitjacket of the past.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."[1] He is talking about the conversion experience. When, for example, Jennifer opens up her heart to Jesus Christ and invites Him in to be in charge and to wash away her sins, then a miracle happens. She doesn't just "get religion," she gets new life, she is "born again." Whereas once she was born physically, now she is born spiritually.[2] She is a new creation. Now she's ready to grow.

Please don't be offended if I compare Jennifer to a lizard. Stay with me. If Jennifer eats spiritual food, she grows and changes. She finds her old skin isn't very comfortable any more. It doesn't fit the "new her." And if she keeps eating spiritual food the old skin and the old ways will drop off. Lizards get a sleek new skin after they molt. Jennifer gets a freshness and vibrancy about her new life that is obvious to all. And the process will repeat itself many times over as she matures in her faith.

This happens normally and naturally in healthy Christians.

How about you? How long has it been since you shed your last skin? A long time? There are three possibilities:

  1. You never invited Jesus to live inside you. Perhaps you have an intellectual assent to Jesus without fully committing yourself to Him. That would explain it.
  2. You haven't been eating spiritual food lately. I know people say you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. But to be a growing Christian you certainly do. Letting your Bible gather dust can cause malnutrition, too.
  3. You refuse to let go of old ways. You can justify things all you want, but when you know they are wrong and you continue to practice them, you stunt your growth. It's as simple as that.

Now each of these is curable, thank God. You can stop right now and sincerely invite Christ in. You can become an active part of a Christian fellowship. And you can stop cramping the work that God seeks to do in you. There's hope for you. You'll feel a lot better about your life, and people will notice the difference.

Think about how a lizard would look with the tatters of his former life flapping about him. So get growing already.

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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