Put Off, Put On

Since the day I’ve got my driver’s license I have been driving left hand drive cars — most of the time. That changed when I moved to Ireland. Now I own and drive a right hand drive car.

Yes, in the beginning, the switching was quite odd, like:

  • sitting in the driver’s seat on the “other side” of the car,
  • driving on the “other side” of the road
  • reminding myself to enter roundabouts in a different direction
  • looking first this and then the other way at an intersection

But driving a RHD became more and more natural to me. In fact, I felt rather out of place sitting in the passenger seat of a LHD during a short vacation in Germany last year.

Do I still have tendencies toward driving a left hand drive automobile? Um, sometimes, yes — but more rarely now. For example, there had been times when I walked to my car and I wanted to enter it from the wrong side. 😳 Driving on the road, though, I’m secure. 😉

In Ephesians 4:17-32 Paul talks about the New Life:

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (vv. 17-24)

Sanctification follows after salvation. It is a lifelong process. We are still in the world but no longer part of it. So we have to put away our old “self” and put on the new self — which isn’t always easy.

We are so used to having the steering wheel of our life on “our” side, driving on “our side” of the road, entering life’s situations in a different direction and looking first this way and then, maybe, to God at the crossroad.

But see, we have to put off the old way of driving and put on the new. This does go against our human nature, yes. But slowly and progressively it will become more natural to us to  do things the way our Father asked us to. We will feel more comfortable the new way and more out of place doing things the other way.

The transformation from a LHD to a RHD did not happen overnight. At the beginning I had to remind myself of driving on the left side of the road. This was even harder when I didn’t have another car in front of me (see how important it is to get together with fellow Christians? 😉 ) At an intersection I forced myself to look to the right first and then to the left — opposed to what I had been taught in Germany.

It’s the same with the Christian life: sanctification doesn’t happen overnight. It is a lifelong process.



“I thought you are a Christian!”
“But I am!”
“Then why can’t you make your husband stay off alcohol?”

Susan turned around and went straight for the door.

“Here, Susan, I’m in the kitchen.”
“Mom, you won’t believe it! I just ran into Kate. We had a terrible argument — again. She was mocking me, asking why I can’t change Martin.”
“Oh dear!”
“Well, mom, I just don’t know… It’s just that… I don’t know if I’m a Christian.”
“What makes you think so?”
“Well, shouldn’t I be able to change things for the good? Why can’t I make Martin to stay away from alcohol?”
“Oh, hun! The new-birth happens all in one time but the change, the sanctification, takes time.”
“Yes, hun. Come on, I’ll show you something.”

They went into the conservatory where Mrs Strong showed Susan her little army of tiny plants.

“See, hun, it’s like this,” she said, pointing to one of her plants…

2017-03-22 Gurke Persika 12Tg

“New Christians are like tiny plants that just popped out of the compost. They feel good, they stretch, they try to reach heaven — but they do not have strong roots yet. Even so, it’s springtime and the sun is out more often now, there are still some chilly nights ahead — so they will need a shelter during these times. And once they begin to mature they cannot just be put outside in an instant. They will need to harden slowly so they will not perish.”

“Yes, mom. But what about Martin? How can I change him?”

“Susan, you will need to focus on growing into a mature Christian yourself; only God is able to change Martin’s heart. Focus on staying close to the Lord. Ask Him for wisdom and strength. Pray for Martin and stay on target.”