My old man is being crucified with Christ; God’s destroying my selfish, sinful nature and freeing me to obey Him. (Ro 6:6)
This gives me a key to what this old man actually is: my carnal mind (Ro 8:7), my wrong thinking, false paradigms and mindsets in which I walk with selfish motives, unable to please God. (Ro 8:8) I live in God as He gives me understanding. (Ps 119:144)
So I find the old man to be nothing more than a personification of the selfish lies I’m holding on to. This demystifies him, exposes him, makes him vulnerable and helpless. He’s insidiously strong, no doubt, but in the power of God his strongholds are going down (2Co 10:4), one lie at a time. This process is certainly mysterious in some ways, but in principle it’s simple.
I put off the old man by hiding God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, in my heart (Ps 119:11), meditating on it regularly (Ps 119:97), continually exposing myself to truth (Jn 17:17), noting where I deviate from His Way (Ps 119:9), and asking God to make me understand (Ps 119:27), order my steps in His Word (Ps 119:33) and set me free. (Jn 8:32)
I also engage with others in community doing the same thing, listening to what they’ve learned, encouraging them and being encouraged by them as we edify one another, praying for each other (Ep 3:14-19), helping each other see our blind spots and pursuing God together.
Putting off the old man isn’t like taking off a coat; it’s more like climbing a mountain, or peeling an onion, step after step, layer after layer. It’s a growth process, walking in the light, building an eternal relationship, connecting with God’s heart, seeking His face. (Ps 27:8) It’s a life pattern of spiritual exercise, a discipline, a journey. (Php 3:14)