It may surprise you to learn that the largest mammal on earth, an elephant, is one of the easiest to train. Elephant trainers that work with baby elephants begin by attaching a chain that is staked to a large tree around its back foot. When the elephant pulls on the chain and the tree doesn’t move, it eventually gives up because it knows that the chain on their ankles means that he/she can’t become free. Even when the chain is removed, the elephant won’t break free because they’ve been conditioned to believe they’re still chained physically.
How many of us are like those elephants, conditioned by habits we’ve grown comfortable with, even though we know we need to change and break free from them? The Apostle Paul describes this dilemma as the ‘old self versus the new self’ in Ephesians 4:22-24:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul is speaking to believers in this passage by challenging them to stop living as if they didn’t know God but rather, to start living in their new identity in Christ. The irony is that some of us have lived so long in our old lifestyle that we drag that into our new self but end up getting trapped by things that shouldn’t keep us trapped and ultimately stunt our growth. Therefore, it’s critical that we seek to “put off,” “be made new” and “put on’ as change won’t happen in your life if it’s only about NOT doing certain things, but knowing and following through on what those RIGHT things are to do.
Friend, you CAN walk in the freedom that God has called you to as His child. You have the power to change within your grasp so what are the chains and stakes that are holding you back? It’s time to leave your comfort zone, break loose of your old habits and embrace your new, God-given identity today.
Dee and I are thrilled to welcome our first granddaughter into the world, Maeve Ivy! She was born on September 17 weighing in at 6 lbs, 10 ounces and joins her big brother who is sure to show her the ropes. 😊 We are so grateful that my mother was here recently visiting from Spain to spend time with our family and meet her great-grandchildren for the first time. She’s going to love this new baby girl! What a blessing straight from God’s hand!
Mark Jobe serves as president of Moody Bible Institute and host of Moody Radio's Bold Steps. He is the author of Unstuck: Out of Your Cave into Your Call (Moody Publishers). He is also the founding pastor of New Life Community Church, a Chicago-based ministry with 27 locations throughout Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children.
Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe takes you on the path to freedom and authenticity in Christ. With candid, topical teaching from God’s Word, Dr. Jobe offers simple gospel messages with the power to transform your life.