Ephesians – Belief and Behavior
I am purging old stuff, stuff I do not need to live with any longer! It is a chore to clean out every nook and cranny, closet and cabinet, but so necessary to make room for better things to do with my life. What are those better things? I heard you ask. I will have less distractions in my life. I will have less to dust, clean and put away. I will have more space to stretch out and enjoy life without clutter. I will generally have less to care for that gives me nothing back for my time of caring. I can be ready to immediately pick up and go when life calls for travel near or far. Yes, the old has got to go that ties me down to get ready for the new to come. I want to be free from the old stuff.
Whoa, isn’t it that way with our lives? We keep hanging on to the old memories of past hurts, past disappointments and past betrayals. We remember our sins and go over them so much in our minds that we succumb to sinning in the same ways again! We wallow in our sin because of our selfishness of wanting and gripping to control. Then the cycle of disappointment continues. We wallow in guilt because of the old stuff keeps staring us in the face. Our focus is on our old stuff of life instead of refocusing on the author and finisher of our new life!
If we want life to change we must say yes to purging the old life with it’s past baggage. Purging what needs to go in our lives isn’t as easy as cleaning out a closet but necessary to living a new, robust life in Christ. Yes, there is a lot of old stuff I need to get rid of…from the inside out. How about you?
Paul helps us see what God wants us to keep and what must go. Read and be blessed. We can’t do purging alone, we need the help and power of the Holy Spirit guiding and directing. Peace and joy will come in ways we never expected, no matter what the circumstances are that surround us.
“Make a clean break”, says Paul. And much more….”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.” Wow! God does the work in us…if we let Him.
Ephesians 4, The Message (Part two)
14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
The Old Way Has to Go
17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
20-24 But that’s no life for you. 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.
25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.
29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Continue to help us grow up, mature, to be more and more like Jesus taught us to live. We lay down self. We ask for Your Holy Spirit to help us purge the old ways of life so we can live a new life in the wide open spaces of Your love and care. Continue to transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen