Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV
“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.”
Our walk is our lifestyle, our conduct, the things we do, how we live, how we behave, the things we watch, the words we speak, and the things we think and that we set our mind on. It is our attitudes, our values, our beliefs, our philosophies, and the doctrines we adhere to, etc. And, it is our character, our personality, our habits, our priorities, and how we spend our time, etc.
As followers of Jesus Christ, if truly we are his followers, we should no longer walk as the Gentiles (the ungodly) do. We shouldn’t look like, act like, think like, walk like, and talk like the ungodly. And, we shouldn’t be watching TV shows, videos, and movies which glorify sin and immorality of various kinds.
We shouldn’t have crude talking or course joking or gossip as our way of speaking. We shouldn’t make sexual remarks to people, either, thinking we are being funny or cute. Our speech should be holy, pure, moral, honest, and upright. We must guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and the words on our tongues, that what we say may glorify God and not our flesh.
But this has a lot to do with what we are taking into our minds daily, too. For, what we take in is what will come out in our thinking, attitudes, speech, and behaviors. If it is garbage, then it is garbage in, garbage out. If it is what is pure, holy, and righteous, then that is what we will produce.
A lot of this, too, has to do with who our close friends and associates are. If we spend a lot of time with people who are perverse, who speak evil, who make sexual remarks, and who tell off-color jokes, well then bad company corrupts good character. It is hard not to become like those you are around. It takes a very strong (in the Lord) individual to resist those influences.
Putting Off and Putting On
So, if we are not going to be like the ungodly, then we must follow Jesus Christ with our lives. We have to forsake all ungodly practices, attitudes, thinking, and speaking. We must put them all off! And, we must put off any obstacles or hindrances to our walks of faith and anything which might tempt us to sin against God, too.
And, then we need to fill our minds and hearts with what is of God – with what is honest, pure, trustworthy, upright, godly, and moral, etc. We need to read the Scriptures, and pray, and have fellowship with others who are living godly and holy lives. And, we need to obey the Scriptures and apply them to our daily walks. And, we must listen to godly and moral music and watch what is wholesome and pure and uplifting.
And, then we need to be pursuing what is right and good, and we must be sharing the gospel of our salvation with others and be involved in activities that are wholesome and that are not contrary to God or to his word. For, even if we do all these things, we are still in a spiritual battle against our enemy who is out to destroy us, and life is still going to be tough. So, we must not do anything to give him a foothold in our lives.
Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV
“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.”
A lot of people these days are learning Christ the wrong way. For one, they are being taught “another Jesus,” not the one of the Scriptures, though he may be similar in nature, but still a creation in the minds of men. And, they are being taught “another gospel” other than the one Jesus taught, although, again, it may be similar in nature to the true gospel of Christ.
For, they begin with the truth, basically, only they cut it in half, and they twist it, and they take Scriptures out of context and they build their doctrine around only those Scriptures which support what they want to believe.
For, Romans 10:9-10 cannot be taught as the gospel of our salvation outside of the context of the whole of Romans, but especially not outside the context of Romans 6 and 8 which make it abundantly clear what is REQUIRED for salvation and for eternal life with God.
And, Ephesians 2:8-9 cannot be taught out of the context of verse 10, which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for GOOD WORKS, which GOD prepared beforehand, that we should WALK in them.”
And, John 10:28-30 cannot be taught outside the context of John 10:27, which says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” And, these are the ones who can’t be snatched out of God’s hands.
The Truth in Christ Jesus
For, the truth that is in Christ Jesus is as stated here in Ephesians 4. It is that we must put off our old self (our sin nature, our flesh), and we are to be renewed in the spirit (or attitude) of our minds, and we are to put on the new self (the nature of Jesus), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).
It is what John the Baptist taught. It is what Jesus taught. And, it is what the New Testament apostles taught. And, it is repeated for us all throughout the New Testament, and it was a constant theme all throughout the Old Testament, too. For, God hasn’t changed. His message hasn’t changed.
If we want to come after Jesus, we must deny self and die daily to sin and self and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. The Father draws us to Jesus, and then he gifts us with the faith to believe in Jesus and he gifts us with repentance, too. But we must take those gifts and apply them to our lives. They are not automatic. Otherwise, everyone would be saved.
If we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, and we must be delivered of the Spirit of God out of our slavery (addiction) to sin, and we must now, in the power of God, become slaves (bondservants) to Christ and to his righteousness.
For, if we walk according to the flesh, in darkness, in sin, we will die in our sins because we refused to die to our sins (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).
So, if you are still living to please your sinful flesh, and if you have not died to your old life of sin, I pray you will do so today, and that you will now follow Jesus with your life in a walk of obedience to his instructions to us.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.