Ephesians 4:17-24 The Message (MSG)
Yesterday, I was reading about Jesus healing a man with leprosy (Matt 8:1-4). Physical leprosy leaves people with no sense of touch; they suffer loss of feeling. They cannot feel pain; they cannot feel pleasure. Jesus restored touch, so this man could once again experience both pleasure and pain. As well, the man experienced cleansing that allowed him to return to the Temple and worship God, so this lesson has spiritual significance for believers. Spiritual leprosy leaves a person out of touch and alignment with Truth. God wants to bless his children with great pleasures. He is love and wants to fill our lives with joy and purpose. However, we must also be able to experience pain, because pain can be a love language God uses to guide our path in a righteous direction making us more like Christ.
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul is not only writing to the early church at Ephesus, but to believers everywhere. He reminds the believers their lives should look very different than unbelievers; believer’s character and purpose for living must be reflective of God. Believers connect to Christ and begin to share in his experience and the pleasures of his benefits. The old life dies with Christ and the new life in the Truth begins; living by God’s design and power. The process of learning Christ—growing up—involves some pain so we will let go of the old ways of thinking and living in order to embrace a God-fashioned life.
Ephesians 4:17-24 The Old Way Has to Go
17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for allowing me to touch and experience great pleasures in Christ. Also, thank you for allowing me to touch and experience pain, so my spiritual thinking and character can grow. You are Good and always loving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.