This past week, Foster Christy shared what it looks like to be renewed by Christ – leaving our sinful nature and learning to walk in the Spirit. To guide us in this practice, he broke down Ephesians 4:17-24, where Paul addresses the church about stepping away from darkness.
When Paul speaks to the church, he discusses how their sinful behavior as “the body of Christ” negatively impacts their relationship with God, transforms what they values, and leads to ultimate destruction.
THE CORRUPTION OF LIVING BY EMOTIONS
“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, and they are full of greed.” 17-19
This darkness that Paul references has a perpetual affect on our mindsets, actions, and relationships. From 1) believing lies rather than truth, our “internal battle of the mind” leads to an external effect of 2) being ignorant and controlled by worldly things. This ultimately results in 3) a separation from God.
Like a strong current in the ocean, we so often get caught up in the manipulative sin in this world and drift farther from God than we initially expected. Rather than letting feelings dominate our behavior, we are to allow the Spirit to drive our everyday actions.
NEW WAY OF LIFE
As believers, we were taught to leave our corrupted lifestyles and walk in a life that reflects God’s love and goodness. This act of denying yourself and leaving room for the Lord to work in your life starts with surrendering what we idolize at the cross and asking God to renew our sinful nature.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” 20-24
Like dirty clothes – made solely to steal, kill, and destroy every piece of ourselves – we are to throw off our former sin and allow the Spirit to renew what’s broken in our lives. No matter what season, circumstance, or feeling we face, we can walk in the power of the Spirit with renewed minds and a desire to be like Christ.
In a world where there are endless opportunities everyday to engage in corrupted behavior, Paul reminds us that by giving our hearts to God, He will carry us through every hardship, temptation, or unclear path. Paul parallels John 14:6 to remind us of this promise:
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.”
Foster Christy concluded with the question: How is your heart; is it given fully to God or stuck in the darkness, slavery, and corruption of this world?
We have the privilege to dismiss the controlling nature of sin – built to separate us from the joy, peace, and forgiveness that God offers – and to seek a relationship with Christ, which goes far beyond feeling.