Ephesians 4:17 – 19 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 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 with a continual lust for more.”
My six year old son recently got a new bicycle. It is shiny and red, and has cool black flame-like racing streaks down the side. He loves to race that bike up and down the street in front of our house. But his father and I have placed strict boundaries on him. He knows where he is and isn’t allowed to ride. He gets frustrated that he can’t ride down the hill, or out into the busy side street. He doesn’t understand that the restrictions we have placed on him are out of love, not out of harshness. We don’t want him to get hurt.
Friends, God loves us more than anything. He has set before us a path of righteousness that seems harsh and restrictive to those who don’t know His love. But those of us in Christ need to understand that God’s absolute laws are in place because of His love for us. He knows what will give us the very best possible life. He doesn’t want us to get hurt.
Outside of Christ, we have no hope of understanding that kind of love. We have difficulty grasping the consequences of sin, and so we just do whatever we please. And without boundaries, we just continue down the hill, going faster and faster, wanting more and more, until we finally crash. Even then, we often don’t grasp the reason for our crash, and we continue doing the same things that caused us to get hurt.
When we become Christians, God gives a new understanding of His love and His ways. We aren’t supposed to continue on in the same patterns as before we knew Christ. Because we now understand His love, there should be a marked difference in our behavior.
But old habits die hard, don’t they? Often, we catch ourselves slipping into our old lives, our old ways of thinking. Even though we know that our old way of life only led us on a path to destruction, still, we can remember some good times. We can remember the rush of going down that hill. And sometimes, we choose to forget about the impending crash. But to choose the ways of the world when we have been shown the ways of God is like stepping from the light into the darkness, from understanding to ignorance.
As we grow in our understanding of God and His ways, we must shut the door on our former way of thinking. God wants to bring us into the light, into His love. And as we leave our old lives behind, we will find that the new path God has set before us leads to a more exciting, more fulfilling life than we ever could have found before, as we groped in the darkness.
Dear Father, Please help me to leave my old ways of thinking behind, as I become the person You want me to be.