Ephesians 4:17-24 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. 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. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Have you ever had a stellar coach or mentor who always had an encouraging word? That’s what Paul gives us here in verse 17. (As an aside, he does use the word “therefore,” again, referring to his previous statements. We would do well, then, to keep the big picture in mind through this entire chapter – the radical love of Christ and his rescue mission to every religion, and how the Church is supposed to represent that. ) Paul, in affirmation with the Lord, claps us on the shoulder and says, “You have new life! You no longer have to wake up every day feeling lost, like so many others do. Now go reach them with your inner light!”
In verse 18, Paul contrasts the life of Christ with those who walk in futility, “being darkened in their understanding.” The picture here is a room full of dark, thick, inky black smoke. Stumbling and flailing, people who are your neighbors and co-workers attempt to find their way across the room. Is there a window or doorway? Is there even a destination or purpose? We who have the life of Christ within us have the smoke cleared away, if only we will trust and hold tight to Him.
For this reason, we are encouraged to “lay aside the old self” and be renewed in the “spirit of our minds.” Think in layers for a moment. Your mind is the foundation, followed by attitudes, and manifested in behavior. Some days we have to set aside the old self several times in one hour! But it is our destiny to see through the smoke, to live with true understanding, so that we mature and walk as Christ would walk. Exactly what the specific results of that new walk may look like are too numerous to list here, but grasp the picture Paul is painting and make it your banner today.
———- Are there any behaviors or attitudes that you’re holding onto and not laying aside?