You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. (Ephesians 4:20-24 MSG)
Those who pay careful attention to Christ will see the careful attention of Christ manifest over and over in their lives. It is simple math - put in what you have to give and then watch as God takes the little you have and he multiplies it in exponential proportions until we are filled with the character of Christ within. The old way of life - given over to him - is subtracted. The new way of life - received from him - is added. In turn, there is an exponential increase in the truth and love of Christ rising within us.
Notice there is an "imperative" in this passage today - everything connected with the old way of life has to go. Actually it is a "double-imperative because it is said twice - once because it is important and then emphasis because it is not something we can compromise on at all. What is connected with your old life that may not be fully "subtracted" yet? I know there are a couple things I have tried to allow to be "subtracted", but they seem to have some type of anchor within - we might call them those "favorite" kinds of sins that we just don't want to let go of because they bring us some degree of satisfaction.
It is only through final and permanent disconnection with those things that we come fully into the character of Christ that is meant to replace those things - and the sad truth is that we don't realize how much more satisfying his character is over those sins anyway! Wouldn't it be nice to be able to "try on" God's character much like we do a fine suit of clothing at an upgraded department store? We could see just how good that character "fits"! I have tried on suits of clothing of the "knock off" brand, but never been as satisfied with the fit and feel of that one that costs me just a little bit more. Why? The quality is different!
There is no substitute for the character of Christ in our lives. There is nothing that fits quite as well. His character was created for our "frame" - it was meant to adorn us in a "perfect fit" kind of way! We might try all other kinds of things to "fit" that space in the same way, but truth be told - nothing - absolutely nothing is meant to "fit" quite like Christ's character! That space was designed just for his presence - and where his presence "fits" - there is a transformation of character. We might just say adornment comes by laying down the "knock off" we have been trying to wear to disguise our imperfections. Just sayin!