Ephesians 4:17-24 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
*But that is not the way you learned Christ!-
Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Do you remember your life before you knew Christ?
I had a good life up until about the age of 11 or 12. That’s when the sparkle went out of my eyes, and when doubt and fear came in.
That’s when the reality of the evil in the world became real and personal to me.
It was my first hurt from being made fun of, the first sting of rejection pierced my heart. My eyes were then open to how cruel people were. I no longer felt free to be me. I had to pretend not to care. I could never show my true emotions because that made it worse. I felt that I didn’t belong anywhere.
That’s when Jesus came into my heart and touched me and told me he loved me. I was so desperate, and so in need of his love, it was like putting water on a dry plant. I was so thirsty for his living water! His light came on inside of me and helped me to overcome the darkness that had surrounded me for so long. The Holy Spirit filled me up with his amazing love, covering all of me at once. I felt alive for the first time and free again to be happy. I had a new identity, a new way of life! I was on my way!
However, I had not really dealt with my old self yet. I knew that God loved me and that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but I really didn’t see my own sins. I was a good person and now Jesus loved me!
I was so excited, I just put on my new Jesus loving self over my old hurt self and marched on into my new life.
It took years for me to realize that I had this large sinful attitude buried deep down in my heart. I could play church really well. I believed I was living my life as a good Christian should. I was a Christian on the outside, but I was a total mess on the inside.
My heart had become hardened towards church. I really didn’t even want to go anymore, because it seemed like everyone was just playing church. The behavior they displayed at church was not the same at home or around their family and non-church friends; and neither was mine. Gossip and power struggles between members also turned me off.
Coming to POG was an answer to a prayer that I think God had placed in my heart about nine months before we moved to Texas. When we first came to POG my heart was still hard and calloused. I didn’t want to do anything but sit and be refreshed. I began to really look at myself and see my sins as God sees them. I asked God to forgive my sinful attitude, my selfishness, and my doubts. I asked him to strengthen my faith and to remove my fears and anxiety. Slowly, the spirit of my mind has been renewed. I am now totally committed to following Jesus and being led by the Holy Spirit daily.
What’s your story, please share what God has done in your life!
Dear Lord Jesus, be with each of us this week as we continue our commitment to follow you no matter what, and to seek the guidance of your Holy Spirit daily. Increase in us your love, peace and joy. Renew us and strengthen us as we strive to live in our new selves, “created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. Amen