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.
(Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)
Yesterday we read the first step of a three-step process the apostle Paul lays out for followers of Christ that leads us to live in a way that is consistent with what we believe. That first step was to put off our old self – to stop living in the same manner in which we lived when we were unsaved sinners.
The second step is to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. Not only should our behavior change as a result of our new identity in Christ, but our thinking should change as well. This is especially important in light of the fact that sin is deceitful, as we learned yesterday.
The world tells us constantly to do what we feel. Advertising slogans like “Just do it” and “You’re worth it” invite us to indulge self-gratification without concern for the consequences. The world runs on emotions and, as a result, falls prey to lies. God calls on His children to be fueled on facts so that we will always be guided by truth.
Earlier in this letter Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesians spiritual wisdom [Ephesians 1:17]. God wants us to know truth. He is not withholding it from us. He will give wisdom to anyone who asks for it [James 1:5].
In our natural state – as spiritually dead sinners [Ephesians 2:1] – we are deceived and make poor judgements. This is exactly how people who don’t know Christ live. They think they are making right choices, but they are actually making wrong, not to mention harmful, choices [Proverbs 14:12].
Gods thoughts are much more accurate than ours [Isaiah 55:8-9] and He calls upon us to think more like He does. However, no one can do this without having the spirit (Holy Spirit) in them. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us and reveals God’s thoughts. This is why the world will never be able to solve any of mankind’s problems – they don’t have the Holy Spirit.
But God’s children – born-again believers [John 1:12] – do, although we used to not when we, too, were unbelievers. This is exactly Paul’s point. Believers are different than they used to be. We have a new identity. We were enemies of God. Now we are part of His family. One of the benefits of being a member of God’s family is we have access to God’s thoughts through the Holy Spirit. How cool is that?
Since we have this infinite resource at our disposal, we should make use of it. We should no longer allow emotional, sinful thoughts to run our lives. Even modern psychology agrees with the Bible on this point: our thoughts become our actions. If we are to have new actions, we must first have a new mind.
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