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. Ephesians 4:17
You can replace the word “Gentile” with non Christian. In other words, once we become Christians we are commanded not to live like we used to. We are also commanded not to live like the non Christians around us. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. There is an old Gospel song, called “Things are different now,” by Stanton Gavit, that goes like this:
Things are different now, something happened to me. Since I gave my heart to Jesus Things are different now, I was changed it must be, when I gave my heart to Him…
Paul describes what the mindset of someone who doesn’t know who Jesus is: darkened in their understanding, separated from God, hard hearted, calloused, given over to sensuality, and greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Non Christians do the things they do because they don’t know Jesus.
But we have been changed by the Spirit and taught to live differently. If you haven’t been taught before, you are being taught now. Your life must change. You can’t keep cheating, lying, sleeping with someone you are not married to, being selfish and treating others badly. That’s not who we are. Those are choices you need to make. You need to be renewed in the spirit of your mind to live out that new life. The Holy Spirit renews us as we call on Him, plus as we spend time in the Bible our minds are changed from thinking like a non Christian to thinking like a Jesus follower.
Part of the reason Christians don’t act any differently than those who don’t know Jesus is simply because they aren’t spending disciplined time each day in the Bible. Plus, they may not have surrendered to the right that God has to interfere with your life. If you call Jesus ‘Lord,’ then that means you are giving Him the license to mess with all of your values and priorities. He will rearrange them, but only with your permission.
As Ephesians 4 continues, Paul tells what a new life looks like–don’t lie, but speak truth; be angry, but don’t sin; don’t steal, but work; don’t say worthless things, but build others up; don’t grieve the Holy Spirit; finally, don’t be filled with bitterness, but be tenderhearted and forgiving.
Are things different now that you know Jesus? Are you being renewed in the spirit of your mind because you have given God the right to be your interior redecorator? Are you spending quality time with Him in the Bible? If not, what needs to change today?
Even as someone who has been a Christian for a long time, I still need the renewing work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in my life. Left to myself I am snarky, selfish and prone to take short cuts. I know when I have gotten away from the God I love and need to get back to His feet. Others can probably see it quicker than I can. Don’t leave home without Him!
*Photo from “The Loyalist Advantage”