Welcome to DAY 18 of our online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 4:17-24
It doesn’t seem so long ago that I sat at my kitchen table, cup of tea in hand, eagerly chatting with one of the pastors at my new church. I’d be lying if I said I was entirely comfortable, but my questions were many and I was determined to have answers that day.
I suppose I was what some would call a “new Christian.” Having given my life to Christ as a teenager, yet unsure of what to do next, left me with years of desert wandering. So with this recent re-dedication came an enthusiastic desire to know Him and to follow Him into righteousness. Well, follow God into righteousness as long as it didn’t mean losing myself in any way . . .
You see, I had this fear I would no longer blend with my surroundings.
What if I stood out as I learned to “walk in the light?” Of course I wanted to love Jesus, but couldn’t I do that without changing a thing? I was ready to re-dedicate myself and to be baptized, but was I ready to lose who I was in the process?
Before I knew it, I found myself saying four dreadfully dishonest words:
“I have this friend . . .”
I proceeded to tell my pastor that my friend was concerned that as she began to deepen her faith she would need to give up all of her favorite pastimes. Movies, books, her incredibly large collection of music . . . all would have to go and be replaced by hours pouring over Scripture.
“Does this friend need to do that?” I questioned.
But that friend was me.
He wasn’t fooled. And how he managed to keep his laugh on the inside due to my absurd way of fishing around is beyond me. I do, however, remember the softening in his eyes as he gently responded with the words, “The change will not be you.”
I felt somewhat let down. At the time I didn’t feel like I had an answer, but unbeknownst to me, a seed had been planted that day. The following Saturday I was baptized and I began life anew.
When we give ourselves up for the sake of Christ, the only choice that follows is whether or not we want to commit ourselves to knowing Him.
If we lean into His love for us, and draw closer through prayer and the reading of His Word, we are transformed. That transformation is delicately woven into His grace with gentle hands. As we are lead willingly by the Spirit, our thoughts and attitudes become that of Christ. Our interests, along with everything else, are changed.
It didn’t happen overnight, but as time passed, I began to gravitate away from my old lifestyle. My husband and I grew closer to Christ, and many of our books and movies began to disappear off the shelves and our playlists took on a whole new collection of music. Not because we felt we had to rid ourselves of them, but because of the way they made us feel inside. We no longer sensed the need to feed ourselves with content that was counterproductive to the Spirit.
There was an opening of my hands that day.
One by one, God took those concerns and replaced them with something better. My anxiety over no longer conforming to the patterns of the world disappeared and I grew into my new self day by day. And now, when I think back to that time my dear pastor friend sat across from me, I remember his words. But I take those words and alter them, ever so slightly.
I have my answer . . .
“The change wasn’t me. It was You.”
~ Diving Deeper ~
How has God completely transformed you?
Have you willingly invited the Holy Spirit to begin
His transformative work in you