I find more and more as I write these daily devotionals, that there are things written in the scriptures which although true, are extremely difficult to say to people who are not accustomed to hearing the Bible talked about often. I mean non believers, those who consider themselves not to be religious and those who have no place for church in their busy modern lives. To say to people who believe themselves to be good and morally upright, law-abiding citizens that actually, they have no sense of shame, live a life of lust and deception, all the while practicing impurity, would be to invite an extremely hostile response. But is the fear of a hostile response a reason not to try. After all, imagine the hostility the early Christians faced. Actually we don’t have to imagine it, we can read about it in the book of Acts and the letters of Paul. Those first believers faced sudden imprisonment, torture and execution. They took repeated public beatings and stonings. Why? Because they had seen the light of Jesus and the power of it in their lives and they passionately wanted those, whose minds were still full of darkness, to know the brilliantly good news of Jesus. Paul knew that if the believers could really stop living like they used to, then, wearing this new God given, God like nature, they would reveal true holiness to the Gentiles.
Ephesians 4:17-24 NLT
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
My goal is simple and yet terrifying. I want to literally throw off my former way of life and the old sinful nature that comes attached to it. I want to believe in the new nature, the truly righteous and holy nature, that God has created for me to wear like a cloak. I know that my old way of life falls so far short of the life that Jesus teaches, that I must leave it all behind and let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitude from now on. I fear that this urgent goal will mean a complete overhaul of my life. But this passage begins with Paul’s specific assurance that he speaks on this point with the Lord’s authority. Therefore I will put my trust entirely in the Lord, and with prayer and in great faith, I will take steps to throw off my former way of life.
Isaiah 48:12-50:11, Ephesians 4:17-32, Psalms 69:1-18, Proverbs 24:5-6