Ephesians 4:17- 32
17 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. 18 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. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I was looking at my library and I came across this small book from a seventeenth-century French monk named Brother Lawrence. He writes about practicing the presence of God at all times. In a sense, that is what putting off the old self and putting on the new self is all about. You are living with a new set of standards. It is all about changing the attitude of our minds. Allow me to take some excerpts from this old classic for the next several weeks.
At the age of 18, when he was converted, Brother Lawrence saw a tree stripped of its leaves, and thought that in a short time the leaves would be renewed. Following that transformation, flowers and fruit would appear. From that thought process he received a high view of the providence and power of God which changed his soul forever. This set his heart afire toward God and loosed it from the world. It was from that day forward that he continually conversed with the Lord.
Brother Lawrence walked with Christ along with the lowly and in the commonplace. There was nothing flashy about him. He didn’t line his walls with certificates and degrees. He chose to simply walk in the background of life moving from one encounter with God to the next. He shows us how, at any moment and in any circumstance, the soul that seeks God may find Him, and practice the presence of God.
Let’s go on this journey of peeking in the window of a humble man of God making Christ the centerpiece of his life. We would do well to consistently make Jesus a priority in everything we do.
On Sunday we will continue our look at our Mission and Strategy as a church in the series, “This is Us.” God is moving in our midst. May you seek God in the simple and ordinary today.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene