As a little toddler, I awoke in my crib one afternoon to find myself all alone in an empty room. I wanted my mommy. I wanted my mommy to come pick me up…to embrace me…to love me. But, she did not come. Left to my own thoughts, I peered through the bars of my crib. What I saw was a vast, dark, unfriendly world that did not want me. As the thoughts “You have been forgotten because you are not good enough for anyone to be with you” filled my heart, I sensed a thick, black, heavy, wet blanket being draped over me—a covering of abandonment, condemnation, shame, and rejection. On that day, as a little toddler, I made up my mind that I did not want any part of this world, since this world did not want any part of me. I felt deserted, defiled, deprived, and defeated. An allergic reaction to life took place deep within me, causing a deep dissatisfaction in my soul and an irritable itch in my body, for years to come. Refusing to accept that I was meant to be here, on this earth, I became a difficult child, showing my aversion to life wherever I went. I did not understand the problem…and I certainly did not know the answer. But, today, I do. I know what, or rather, who draped the wet oppressing blanket over that little child’s spirit, soul, and body when she peered through the bars of her crib. What’s more, I met the Person who was able to remove it…and give her Life—His Abundant Life.
“THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS” (Colossians 3:9).
The Bible calls it the OLD MAN. It makes us feel like a powerless CHILD. It is the reason we believe we are abandoned, condemned, rejected, and shamed. It is the reason we feel mad, bad, and sad. It is the reason neither life, nor death makes sense. It is the reason we do not do the good we want to do, but the evil we do not want to do, this we keep on doing. It is the reason we are eaten up with guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness from the inside-out. It is the reason I did not want to live. I did not want to live, because I felt that I did not have the means to sustain myself. I did not have the resources in me to face the darkness that caused the oppression on my spirit, soul, and body. I did not have the capability inside myself to have light. Instead, I was ruled by a core of darkness in my inner being—beliefs that said: “Nobody wants to be with you, because you are not good enough.” This core of darkness in me was the OLD MAN.
This OLD MAN, with all its effects on our lives, is henceforth explained in the form of five circles, each one encapsulated inside the other.
Acting as the hub of deception, the OLD MAN manifests in us as a separate spiritual body that contains its own beliefs—negative, destructive beliefs of abandonment, shame, condemnation, and rejection. Intrinsically connected to these OLD MAN beliefs are the OLD MAN emotions of fear, anxiety, hatred, jealousy, and resentment. Through these oppressing beliefs and painful emotions, the OLD MAN rules over our spirits, souls, and bodies, from the inside-out.
Like an octopus with its long, sticky arms, the OLD MAN extends its grip on us from its center point of control, latching on to everything we are and do. Squirting its black ink all over us from its hub of deception, it infiltrates our personalities. Soon, we start thinking like the OLD MAN, feelings like the OLD MAN, and behaving like the OLD MAN. Instead of being powerful, independent individuals in control of ourselves, we give up our existence to belong to the oppressing OLD MAN beliefs and their painful emotions. We forfeit our identity to fall prey to an attitude of powerlessness—the victim nature of the OLD MAN. And so, the second circle is formed—who we become in response to this inner OLD MAN body of deception.
Once under the grip of the OLD MAN reign, we stumble around in darkness, looking for a way out. Thus, a third encompassing circle is introduced into our lives—the circle of compromise—WHAT WE DO in reaction to whom we have become under the reign of the OLD MAN. After the OLD MAN’s dark, corrosive ink has bled into our hearts, we learn to hide behind smiles, masks, vows, bitterness, depression, and anything else we can find. We run away to distraction and destruction and blame our parents, our spouses, our friends, and enemies for the negative, destructive OLD MAN beliefs in our minds and the associated pain in our hearts. We develop defense mechanisms of escape as a meager attempt to get rid of the OLD MAN beliefs of shame, rejection, abandonment, and condemnation that have caused us to feel so sad, bad, and mad. In our own strength, we try to think better thoughts, feel better emotions, and do better deeds (even for God). We believe if we could only develop better attitudes, we will be able to free our personalities from the OLD MAN victim nature of powerlessness. But in the end, we are still the same persons. Regardless of how much we struggle, we keep on doing the things we do not want to do, and the things we DO want to do, we are unable to do. Stuck in our own defense mechanisms of escape, we have become instruments of unrighteousness to act out the deeds of the OLD MAN and so fulfill its dark purpose in us—to illicit deceitful desires in us that will eventually lead to sinful solutions…and DEATH.
But, now comes the worst part. In the end, after having sabotaged us from the inside-out with its beliefs and associated emotions, and after leading us to sinful solutions through its deceitful desires, the OLD MAN condemns us. This causes the fourth circle to gird us—a black, heavy, wet blanket of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness: “Everything is YOUR fault. YOU are responsible for everything that went wrong. YOU are to blame! You are worthless. What’s more, there is NOTHING you can do about this…because you are a powerless victim! Now, there is no way out. There are no other options.” Thus, we stumble around in darkness, unable to find our way to happiness. The more we try, the more we get lost. THE OLD MAN HAS BECOME THE SOURCE OF DARKNESS IN US THAT ELICITS THE ACTIONS OF DARKNESS IN AND THROUGH US. The circle of death is complete.
“BUT GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE FOR US IN THIS: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US” (Romans 5:8).
But, there is GOOD NEWS! While we were stumbling around in darkness, being who we were not supposed to be, and doing what we were not supposed to do in response to the OLD MAN life in us, Christ died for us. Now you might ask, “What good did THAT do? How will HIS death get rid of the OLD MAN problem in me?” Aaaaah! Good question! The answer lies in this Truth:
“KNOWING THIS, THAT OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, THAT THE BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DESTROYED, THAT HENCEFORTH WE SHOULD NOT SERVE SIN” (Romans 6:6).
When Christ died for us, He did not die alone. He took the OLD MAN with his negative, destructive beliefs and painful emotions with Him to the cross. His very purpose of death was to get rid of the root of the problem—the OLD MAN. In order to get the OLD MAN to the cross, Christ had to take this body of deception on Himself, into His own body. He merged with the OLD MAN and the OLD MAN merged with Him. He wrapped Himself in our darkness—in the OLD MAN beliefs of abandonment, shame, rejection, and condemnation, along with their emotions of fear, anxiety, hatred, jealousy, and resentment. He took on the beliefs “You have been forgotten, because you are not good enough.” Then, He carried them in His own body…to the cross. Thus, when He died, the OLD MAN beliefs and emotions died with Him… in Him, as part of Him. But then He rose again on the third day…without the OLD MAN. An EXCHANGE took place in Christ. He became our Darkness to be exchanged for our Light. He became our Death to be exchanged for our Life. He became our Sin to be exchanged for our Righteousness. After He conquered the OLD MAN in His own body through death, He came to live His new resurrected Life in us.
This forms the fifth circle around us—the Circle of Grace.
“THEREFORE, SINCE WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED THROUGH FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THROUGH WHOM WE HAVE GAINED ACCESS BY FAITH INTO THIS GRACE IN WHICH WE NOW STAND” (Romans 5:1-2).
What does this mean for you and for me? Because of what the Lord Jesus has done for us, we now have an obligation—“BUT IT IS NOT TO THE SINFUL NATURE, TO LIVE ACCORDING TO IT. FOR IF YOU LIVE ACCORDING TO THE SINFUL NATURE, YOU WILL DIE; BUT IF BY THE SPIRIT YOU PUT TO DEATH THE MISDEEDS OF THE BODY, YOU WILL LIVE, BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD ARE SONS OF GOD” (Romans 8:12-14).
This means that we now have a Life-giving Spirit who came to live HIS Righteous Life in us, in the place of the OLD MAN body of sin. With our own free will, we can choose to be ruled by the NEW MAN, Jesus Christ, moment-by-moment. If we receive the Lord Jesus into our spirits as the Life-giving Spirit who reigns over the OLD MAN, He will take care of the OLD MAN in us, each time we let Him. Because the OLD MAN rejection has been exchanged for Acceptance, in Him, He will take care of the OLD MAN rejection in us, every time we let Him rule in us as the NEW MAN. Because the OLD MAN abandonment has been exchanged for Belonging, in Him, He will fill us with His Belonging, whenever we place the OLD MAN abandonment under His NEW MAN Authority. Because shame has been converted into Glory, in Him, He will become our Glory, whenever we live from the NEW MAN. And because condemnation has been replaced with Righteousness, in Him, He will become our Righteousness, whenever we surrender the OLD MAN condemnation in us to His reign.
Each time we live under the Authority of the NEW MAN, our personalities change. Gradually, we stop thinking like the OLD MAN, feeling like the OLD MAN, and behaving like the OLD MAN. When we stop following the deceitful desires of the OLD MAN, but follow the NEW MAN, we end up in His Love, Hope, and Truth. We find our identity. We become new. We become free.
The next chapter explains how to combine the messages in this book with the color-coded tabs, in order to become free from the OLD MAN beliefs of condemnation, shame, rejection, and abandonment, along with their emotions of fear, anxiety, hatred, jealousy, and resentment.