The old child’s joke, “When is a door not a door?” Answer: “when it is ajar” is not funny. If you laughed, stop reading now—you’re not one for my blog!
No, not funny, but quite useful as a paradigm. Run it this way: When is a not a ? When it’s a . Ah, now we have something. Just fill in the blanks. When is a liar not a liar? When is a thief not a thief? If your answers were “When he stops lying” and “When he stops stealing,” you’d be wrong.
The true answers are found in Ephesians 4.
There you see that the liar is no longer a liar only when he becomes a truth teller. The thief is no longer a thief only when he works for a living and gives from his earnings to those who are truly in need.
You see, until he puts on the alternative lifestyle, he is a liar who doesn’t happen to be a lying at the moment. But put him under pressure and he will still lie. The thief is still a thief when he isn’t stealing—he’s just a thief between “jobs.” He will still steal when given the opportunity.
This is why biblical counselors believe in the put off/put on dynamic of Ephesians 4, Colossians 3 and elsewhere. In the index of the Christian Counselor’s New Testament/ Proverbs, you will find scores of biblical instances of things to put off/put on, including the Scriptural reference from which each is taken. If you are looking for such a list, it is there. Get it and use it.