New life

Ephesians 4:17-24

In the end of chapter four, Paul explores the characteristics of community and personal faith that are opposite or against those aspects that he explored in the beginning of the chapter.  Paul is telling the Ephesians that they cannot walk or live like the Gentiles, or people who don’t know God, because the Gentiles’ actions do not lead to the united and loving community that God desires for his followers. The Gentiles are alienated or separated from God because they do not realize that what they practice continues to carry them farther and farther from God and all that he desires for them. They are calloused because they continue to try and live under their own control and direction, thinking that they can do everything on their own. Like  the Gentiles, whenever we act in the same way over and over, we realize less and less that what we’re doing may not be good for us. In addition, the Gentiles practice selfishness and greed, doing all those things that continue to darken their understanding and harden their hearts.

Remember that just like the Ephesians, we were once the same as the Gentiles. We thought that we understood all that we needed to about life and that we had no need for God or anyone’s help. We were, and probably still are sometimes, selfish. However as followers of Jesus, our goal is not to walk or live in that selfishness anymore. Our goal is no longer to indulge our “old selves,” but to put them off or let go of them. Our lives do not end there though. Paul does not tell us that from now on, we have to manage our sins so that they are not as bad as other people’s sins. Paul reminds us that we need to walk in our new selves, living in a different way than what we would have in our former lives. Paul helps us see that the Christian life is not about all of the “do not” rules that we have, but it is about a new life, known by actions that blossom from a personal relationship with God, the Father. No longer do we encourage each other by saying, “Do not hate” but by saying, “Love as God loves you.” We think and practice peace rather than trying to not be violent. We walk in new life, knowing that our old selves might trip us up, but we no longer follow all of the selfish desires that used to drive and haunt us. Can we show our students, as God shows us, that we care more about them practicing good habits at school rather than focusing on when they mess up?

Other thoughts:

Are you known for what you do or for what you don’t do?

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~ by randallkoehler on May 25, 2012.

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