Putting Off the Old Self


There’s nothing like putting on a new outfit. The feel, look, and smell of new fabric and the freshness of wearing something for the first time is like nothing else. Few things signify our identities like clothing. Clothing can identify gender, economic status, social preference, working status, and religious or political convictions.

In Ephesians, Paul compares learning Christ to “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new self, just like taking off one outfit and putting on a new one. Except this transformation goes much further than the surface of our skin, because this transformation changes how we think, feel, and behave.

  • What does your spiritual outfit look like? In other words, if you were to ask someone close to you to describe your walk with God, what would they say?


17 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. 18 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. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. In verses 17-19, how did Paul describe a walk apart from Christ? What are the qualities he mentioned?
  2. In verse 21, Paul gave an essential description of how one learns Christ. What are the imperatives to learning Christ listed?
  3. Verse 23 describes putting on the new self as “renewing the spirit of our minds.” If we came to Christ by hearing and learning the truth that is in Jesus, how might we be renewed?
  4. What connection do you see in your own life to walking in darkness and not having truth in your mind?


One of the biggest misconceptions about Jesus is that he came, died, and rose to give us some good-feeling, emotional experience. He’s after so much more. He’s after concrete, permanent transformation in our minds, hearts, and actions. As we renew our minds in God’s Word, we are changed. God’s Spirit convicts us of sin, changes our desires, and makes us more holy. We can’t ignore that putting off the old and putting on the new is a command. We play a part. We must put on the new self, just as we put on our pants. And who wants to go outside before they put on their… truth?

  • Ask God to reveal what prevents you from intentionally spending time daily renewing your mind in his Word.