When we become Christians, there are many things we need to put off and put out of our lives if we are to be pleasing to our God. Ephesians 4:17-22 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” What are these lusts? 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” The lusts are strong desires that develop because of what we see and what are fleshly nature desires. They are deceitful because we thought that these things of the world would make us happy but instead in the end they were unfulfilling, made us corrupt, and drew us away from God. When we followed our lusts, our hearts were blind, our understanding was darkened, we were ignorant and our feelings were for ourselves and not the needs of others.
It is true that we must put off the old man that followed the deceitful lusts. However, we will fail in our walk for God if we only concentrate on the things we must put off. Consider what Jesus told us in Luke 11:24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” The point is that if we only seek to put off our deceitful lusts without filling our life with righteousness, the corruption can come back and make our last state worse than the first. Therefore, we must also look for what we are to put on. Ephesians 4:23-24 (That you) “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Many times the Bible tells us to put off certain characteristics or actions and then follows with characteristics or actions that we are to put on. Let us consider a couple of these. Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” As Christians, we must put off lying. Instead, we speak truth to each other; that seems pretty logical. But consider Ephesians 4:28 “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” Not only is the thief to put off stealing but he is to labor so that he will have sufficient to give and supply the needs of another. This illustrates that we need the scriptures to teach us not only what to put off, but also what to put on.
In summary, there are many things that we must put off as Christians. However, we must not just concentrate on putting off, but also look for what we are to put on.