May 27, 2021 – Ephesians 4: 17-24 – The Renewed Mind

Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections: 

Today’s reading is from Ephesians 4: 17-24

17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Today’s passage tells us that we are to put away thing things of the past, how we used to live, what we used to do.  In this passage, Paul reminds us that we must not live in the futility of our minds.  When the mind is darkened, the actions flow next.  When the mind is given over to darkness, the actions come next.  Paul warns us not to do that.  But, then at the same time, he gives us the answer for what we should do to keep this from happening. 

We see in verse 23 we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds.  When we do that, we are able to clothe ourselves with “the new self” redeemed by Jesus.  This is a refrain that Paul shares with us in other places (Romans 12:1-2). Our minds are vital to our faith and our ongoing holiness.  What does that mean? 

First, I think it means that we must keep our minds focused on the things of God.  Sin often starts off as a passing thought, that if we do not take care and discipline our minds, can dig deeper into our souls and into our lives. We are to take our thoughts captive (1 Corinthians 10:5), allowing our minds not to drift into areas that lead to sin and darkness.  Keep your minds focused on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Now, this doesn’t mean that we are to only think about Bible verses all day long (though thinking about Bible verses is never a bad idea), but it does mean that we are not to be passive in our thoughts and guard the space in of our minds from temptation. 

Second, it isn’t just about what we try to guard our minds against, but it is about what we try to enter into our minds. What are we consuming with our minds?  With our media? With our reading?  Now, you know me, I try to find God in all places, especially in pop culture and music. But make sure that you giving God space in your mind so that you can find Him in all the places that you look. 

Tomorrow, we’ll look at Ephesians 4: 25-32.

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