Sacrificial LoveWhat does it mean for you to carry your cross?
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With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the [ungodly] do (v.17).
Conned out of a large sum of money by a business partner, who claimed to be deacon in a church, my friend’s anger and disenchantment ran deep. He said, “How can a Christian do this kind of thing? I trusted him. Now I know he’s no different from a non-Christian!”
Christ’s followers should be different. We’re to “live no longer as the [ungodly] do” in darkness of mind, deadness of life, hardness of heart, and wickedness of deed (Ephesians 17-19):
• Darkness of minds.As a nonbeliever, your mind was “full of darkness” (v.18). But with Jesus “you . . . have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).
• Deadness of life.Previously, you were “far from the life God gives” (Ephesians 4:18). But “God made you alive with Christ” (Colossians 2:13). “The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
• Hardness of heart.You had a hardened heart (Ephesians 4:18), unable and unwilling to obey God. But God replaced it with a new heart that’s sensitive and responsive to Him (Jeremiah 24:7; Ezekiel 11:19-20).
• Wickedness of deed.Devoid of spiritual life, you were once morally calloused and insensitive, with “no sense of shame.” You lived “for lustful pleasure and eagerly [practiced] every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:19).
But no longer! Paul, “with the Lord’s authority,” emphatically cautioned and commanded you to “live no longer as the [ungodly] do!” (v.17). Instead, you are to “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, . . . let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes [and] put on your new nature” (vv.22-24).
You are a new person with a new heart, a new nature, and a new life. Be different. Be holy! (v.24).
What has changed in your life since you became a believer in Jesus? How will you make further changes?
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