Fixing the Old Thing

Yes you may call me a tube light!  I had felt the dining table in this furnished apartment was at a slant – but then I decided it was my astigmatism of eyes playing up.  There was a time I dreaded sitting at the table to do any work as it felt too ‘high’ causing uncomfortable postures.  I tend to re-arrange furniture.  After one such incident where I turned the table, while tutoring, I found that it wasn’t so, and I was constantly knocking my knees on the ledges underneath the table.   The student noticed that too.  Given all the bruises and the limping that caused, I turned the table around again, and noticed the water dripping from an iced coke bottle going down the slant and falling onto the floor on the opposite side.  Yesss confirmation without a doubt.

I had initially surveyed the table wondering whether the top surface was removable and hadn’t fallen into place – but that hadn’t been the case.  Now with the absolute knowledge that the table is slanted – a three legged table – I examined the legs.  One of the legs was old as the colour was different from the other two freshly stained ones… These two were replaced before I moved in, and are at the same height to each other but taller than the 3rd.  It’s typical labour in Sri Lanka… accuracy and practical thought doesn’t count or cheap attempts at replacement is being thrifty.

Often we think fixing an old thing is a good idea – why waste money in purchasing a new one?  However, fixing it with cheap labour only makes room for accidents and injuries, it causes much harm instead.  I was reflecting on this, and I was thinking, we may think a ‘new’ purchase is wasting money but what about all of those working to manufacture and sell these new products?  Don’t they need a livelihood too?  Wouldn’t replacement actually help the next generation to generate income and feed their next generation?

As I continued to reflect, I realised this is the same attitude we have towards our spiritual walk too.  We bring in our old values and beliefs that we had formed from our culture, tradition, religion or spiritual practises of the past, world trends, education, experiences and then add our new beliefs to that existing pool.  We filter the new beliefs unconsciously through our old lenses – forming religious beliefs or merging different philosophies.  What happens is that we have distorted beliefs that are neither here nor there causing harm and damage.

For example Asian religions teach on taking vows – if you do this oh God, I will do this in return, perhaps shave my head or go on a pilgrimage or smash a 100 coconuts.  However, Jesus sets the example of surrendering what He wants confessing, ‘not My will Father but YOURS’.  Many from Asian religions who then embrace Christianity will continue their practise of vows or use their underlying belief of karma in doing charity work and good to others.

Those who believe in the law of the Old Testament in the way they were raised up will continue to pick and choose from the Old Testament and proceed to judge and condemn others who don’t do it the way they do it.  Yet Jesus says He came to fulfil the law.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you= free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.- Romans 8:1-4

What God speaks to us individually others won’t be able to discern – so we can leave their judgment to them and be sure of where we are.  Yet in order to hear God’s perfect and pleasing will for our lives, there are certain conditions we need to do.. or surrender these areas to Him.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will – Romans 12:2

In order to be able to know His will, we need to be transformed.. that takes the RENEWING of the mind, not fixing the mind, or adding things to the mind but making it new. It’s like rebooting our computers.. and reformatting it with new data having erased the old.  We no longer conform to the ways of the world nor to the religious legalism that contradicts God’s word as a whole, and distracts from His nature.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind! 

Don’t just try to fix the old mind!

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