From the Well - 3/28/2019

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Ephesians 4:17-24 (MSG) 
 And so I insist-and God backs me up on this-that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.  They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.  They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.  But that's no life for you. You learned Christ!  My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus.  Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything-and I do mean everything-connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life-a God-fashioned life,  a life renewed from the inside  and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

When Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus, he reminds them that they are to abandon the practices of their old life and center themselves in the life of Christ. Paul knows that it is a struggle. It's hard to move from the things we want and desire and to focus on Christ. We struggle to love, to follow, and mirror Christ as we should.

Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz attempts to put a personal twist on this struggle when he writes:

I talk about love, forgiveness, social injustice; I rage against American materialism in the name of altruism, but Have I even controlled my own heart? The overwhelming majority of time I spend thinking about myself, pleasing myself, reassuring myself, and when I am done there is nothing to spare for the needy. Six billion people live in the world, and I can only muster thoughts for one. Me. [1]

Truthfully, we like nothing more than hearing our name or seeing it in print. We are disappointed and even hurt when we are passed over or ignored. Privately we crave to be acknowledged and rewarded. Jean Paul Sartre described it as "En soi et pour soi" (In myself and for myself).

Paul says that when we let Christ in that we are renewed from the inside out. When we allow Christ to be our guide and partner in all things we are transformed into that which we were created to be, a child of God whose light pushes back the darkness and brings renewal and hope into the world around us. Think about it.

Matthew

[1]Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Nashville, TN: Thomas Press, 2006), 21-22.