How to Deal with “the Old Self” - The Warrior's Journey®

How to Deal with “the Old Self”

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4) 

Every year in the northern hemisphere the autumn leaves of trees turn from green to bright yellows, reds, and oranges. Then they fall to the ground. There some exceptions. For instance, many oak trees have leaves that cling on all winter long. Even when they become brown, dry, and ugly, they still cling onto the branches. Then something happens in the spring. Life begins to flow within the oak tree and tiny green buds appear on its twigs. When this happens those dried ugly leaves – which all the winter’s ice, snow, and wind could not remove – simply drop to the ground. What external forces could not accomplish, new life within the tree accomplishes. 

This is God’s prescription for removing the old sinful habits of our lives. Mere external effort will always prove futile in ridding us of sinful habits. Until an inner transformation takes place and the very life of Christ flows within us, those relics of our old life will cling tenaciously to us.  

But how does God accomplish this inner transformation? Earlier Paul had asked the question, “Do we, then nullify the law by this faith? Not at all!  Rather we uphold the law” (Romans 3:31). He is about to explain how faith in Christ can bring about our adherence to the moral commandments of the Law. God accomplishes this by crucifying our old sinful self and resurrecting it into the image of Christ. You see, when we embrace Christ by faith, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). This spiritual union with Christ causes us to share the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection. By His death our old self is put to death. By His resurrection our spirits are raised to life incorruptible. Immediately, we are born again by the Spirit and word of God (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3, 23). And the new self, which God created in place of the old (2 Corinthians 5:17), now hungers for God and desires to do His will. God also gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit to permanently dwell in our hearts, who renews us day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16) and empowers us to do God’s will (Philippians 4:13).   

You see, not only was Christ’s death necessary to atone for our sins. His death also served as our “Exodus” out of sin’s tyranny. “The death Christ died He died to sin, once for all. But the life He lives He lives to God” (Romans 6:10). 


  • Have you asked Jesus into your heart, to make you a brand new person within? 
  • How can you be renewed day by day and remain spiritually healthy and strong? 
  • Feed on God’s word – the Bible, talk to God in prayer, and worship with believers. 

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