Live Free

How do we move from a trained righteousness to truly live …

… a life worthy of the calling you have received. [Ephesians 4:1NIV]

Paul points to attitudes, actions and a spiritual dimension …

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. [Ephesians 4:2-3NIV]

When that behaviour is merely the product of training it looks good, but the outcome is not the unity of the Spirit nor the attitude love, yet when I break free I find I am immature …

…  tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. [Ephesians 4:14NIV]

Being tossed between enforced ‘love’ and a freedom subject to selfishness indicates an area of immaturity where Jesus has been excluded. Thinking I knew how to behave, I never listened to Jesus to learn from him.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. [Ephesians 4:15NIV]

Paul points to the love of Christ.  Training will always drive, no matter the cost to those we love or ourselves while Jesus understanding the whole draws us to love…

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. [Ephesians 4:16NIV]

Enjoying Darkness

It is easy to see the darkness creep in. It is harder to admit the reason: We like it that way.

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practise every kind of impurity. Ephesians 4:19

In our greed, we harden our consciences against the pain inflicted both on ourselves and others as we indulge our sensuality and impurity.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. V18

The callousness of our hearts impacts our spiritual lives. We cannot harden our feelings without creating barriers against the life of God. In our self-justifying hardness we become alienated from God and ignorant of what is really important. We are darkened in our understanding.

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. V17

In the end such thinking will be proven futile. We give ourselves to what we enjoy and discover that from an eternal perspective it is nothing.

So, how do we find our way back to God? One way is to listen for the demands of self-indulgence. This exposes where we have hardened our hearts. Then pray for the Lord to give grace to be softened and for his light of life to shine there. Allow him to expose the pain and/or the sensuality that led to the hardness and seek him for his restoration of life.

 

See also “Encroaching Darkness” blog of October 6th 2015