We’re continuing through the book of Ephesians. Paul now tells us the type of life to keep away from.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV
Paul has quite a lot say in this paragraph. But it goes a long way in describing our society at this point in history. Unfortunately, we see much of this creeping into the lives of God’s people.
The first thing he tells us is that this is no way to live. We’re not like the rest of the world. So, we shouldn’t think like them. We can’t have a life view like society around us.
The apostle describes it in this way. He says that their thinking is futile. That literally means that their thoughts are empty, devoid of truth. That should never be a description of how a Christian thinks.
But, the fact that Paul is warning us about it, tells me that we could fall victim to this thought process. How could that happen? What would make a believer take on the world view of the unsaved?
According to Paul, their understanding is darkened. This means that the area of their mind that thinks deeply is darkened. They aren’t using this facility that God has given them.
This is something I’ve observed in the lives of some Christians. We don’t want to think deeply about the things of God anymore. We want the shallow teachings that can get us in and out of church quickly.
The word, separated, in this verse means to be off on one’s own. Too many of us want to be off on our own, away from the life of God. We know what God wants for us, but we don’t want to walk in it just yet. We have other priorities right now.
We have to understand that it’s the life of the Lord that brings light to our minds. The further we walk from God’s way, the darker our thinking becomes. But that’s just a symptom of the true problem.
It starts with ignorance – the desire not to know something. There are some things from God’s Word we just don’t want to hear. That’s because we know that it will convict us.
As we continue down this path, our hearts become hardened. The knowledge of God’s Word has less and less of an effect on us.
At that point, we begin to lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We no longer listen to that still, small voice that’s calling us closer to God. Then, we find ourselves in a place we never thought we would get to. We’re doing things we never though we would do.
It’s time for us to turn around. Listen to what the Lord spoke to Israel if they would turn back to His ways.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
If you find yourself in this condition – thinking and acting the same as the world around you – it’s time to pause and consider. Begin to think deeply about your relationship with God. If repentance is needed, then be quick to approach the throne of grace.
The time is now for God’s people to live on the level He calls us to. Then the world will see the difference in us. Then they’ll be drawn to the feet of Christ.
Question: What is the condition of your heart?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi