Ephesians 4:17-18 (ESV): “Now this I affirm and testify to the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds, they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to their hardened hearts; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness.”
Wow! Can you relate? Are you in the company of someone who seems to persecute you at every turn? Do those who surround you suck you into negativity and leave you feeling exhausted and hopeless? Maybe you have a family member that curses God and doesn’t believe in him, maybe even curses you. Maybe it’s your spouse or a co-worker who gets in your face and challenges your beliefs. It seems Paul could relate to you when he penned these words to the Ephesians.
Paul recognized the deep darkness that his persecutors are living in, their hardened hearts. He says that they have given themselves into darkness and unholy living. Sometimes that seems obvious to us—their choices, their actions, their words; they desperately need the Light-Jesus. But sometimes it’s less obvious, and that person bounces back and forth, leaving you on the receiving end of whatever today’s emotions might bring. Sometimes it’s hard to stay the course of these relationships.
But Paul continues with these words in verse 20: “You did not so learn Christ! Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.”
Paul reminds us how to battle the darkness around us. In Jesus, we have everything we need. He will help us, when we call on his name and are willing to follow this next step:
“Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
When those around us live in darkness, it can be hard to stay in the light. Sometimes we are able to walk away from that darkness. But what if they are family members or co-workers? What if walking away isn’t an option and we are left to be the one who carries the light of Christ into their presence? What can we do when we risk falling into discouragement, anger, and bitterness?
I Timothy 1:7 (ESV) affirms this truth: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” We can become strong in God’s power. We act out of love and self-control. We hold our tongues; we walk away when things get heated. We love, even when anger roars inside of us. We pray, even when we don’t feel like it. We stand for God’s truth because it is truth. We allow God to renew our minds so that we become a new creation. We become more like Jesus. The words spewed at you won’t carry the heavy weight they used to, when God reveals his truth to you. You will recognize the lies and stand against the real enemy of your soul.
Friends, as you walk through life, you can choose to allow God to work in you and through you. You can be different, set apart, choosing to be like Christ. For in him, you are a new creation, a holy one, set apart for kingdom purposes! You are a daughter of the King, an heir to the kingdom! You are a princess, a light in the darkness, an overcomer. God is with you! He is in you! He is yours, and you are his!
May you choose to remember that today. May you walk with him each step of the way. May he encourage you, wrap his loving arms around you, and hold you tightly. May you hear him as he calls you daughter, precious daughter, whom he loves deeply!
Be blessed in the knowledge of who he is and who he is calling you to be.
Lord, we ask for your spirit of power, love and self-control. Help us to recognize your voice and follow after you. Bless us in the midst of life, when the dark moments come. When it’s easier to cave into that darkness, help us to stand strong, to withstand the blows of the enemy. May we reflect your light, O God. Help us to lean into you today. Thank you that your love is eternal and you love us. Thank you that we get to be daughters of the King, daughters of God! Amen