Ephesians 4:17-32 Devotions Sharing

Submitted by Sunny Kim & Margaret Chen, Gracepoint Austin

Sunny Kim:

O:  What does Paul insist on with the Ephesians?
To no longer live as the Gentiles do

D: How does Paul characterize living like the Gentiles? In what ways, can I
be living like the Gentiles today? He characterizes them as people who have lost their sensitivity b/c they have developed a habit of giving into their own sensuality, through indulging in every kind of impurity. It started with their thinking becoming futile and their understanding of the truth which became darkened. What was the net result of such thinking? It separated them from the life of God.

Commentary says:
“Ephesians 4:19 could have been written this morning as a telling commentary on us. We give ourselves to trivialities and diversions. Our minds are given to sports, movies, and sitcoms to avoid thought. Our self-centeredness alienates us from God. We do not acknowledge our need of God, do not have time for him, and if we think about him at all, our thought is juvenile. Having lost sensitivity to God and fellowship with him, we give ourselves to sensuality, trying through pleasure and especially through sexual avenues to recover that intimacy for which we were created. We are caught in an increasing downward spiral of serving ourselves. Pleasure and enjoyment are not illegitimate, but when they become the focus of life, they distort and corrupt.”

How true these words are! How much I see so many people give their precious minds to overindulgence in sports, youtube, facebook, blogs, reading about random people’s lives at the expense of avoiding thought and deeper thinking. This is esp. rampant among college students these days. Like the commentary says, pleasure and enjoyment are not illegitimate, but when those things become one’s focus of life, they ultimately distort and corrupt what life in God was meant to be. Hence, I need to be wary of the “Gentile like”
ways in my own life where I engage in frivolous activities to avoid thinking
of weightier issues. If I continue like this I will eventually lose any
sensitivity or intimate fellowship I have been created to exp. with God. I
want to take warning from Paul’s words and put off these former ways of my
old self.

D: What are the things Paul says to put off and then, put on?
Paul commands the Ephesians to put off all that characterizes their old
self, their former way of life, that continues to be corrupted by their
deceitful desires. He says to put off their old self that includes falsehood
and speaking unwholesomely.

A: What are the “old ways” of my former life that I need to put off?

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Margaret Chen, Gracepoint Austin:

Notice all the cause and effect words or relationships. Hardening of their hearts = ignorance, darkened in their understanding, separation from the lifeof God

O:  What does hardening your heart cause you to be like?  Darkening in your understanding with regard to spiritual truths, separation from the life of God, and ignorance.

A:  What does it mean to possess a hardened heart?  Means that you are not responsive to spiritual realities and truths.  It’s an attitude of unwillingness to consider any other viewpoints but your own.  Rejecting truth – not wanting to be touched or addressed by it.  Stubbornly holding onto your philosophy and approach to life.

A:  How does one end up hardening their hearts?  To have a hardened heart, I think you would have to be very wedded to your desires and what you want to get out of life.  As you feed and obey your desires and let that become the dominant pattern in your life, you become more hardened in your heart and unwilling to consider anything else let alone truth.  Paul refers to “darkened in their understanding” as well.  When your heart is hard, the more you will twist truth so as to justify yourself and your choices.  You become spiritually dense or “ignorant” as Paul states.  I experience this when I give into my desires.  When I give into my desires, I cultivate a certain attitude that is opposed to the truths and values of God.   Thankfully, this wrong attitude will surface in something that I will say or do and someone more spiritually mature or sensitive will pick up on it.  Yet, even then, the seriousness of what I’ve done is not apparent to me at times which is why I’ll need someone else to react properly and so mirror for me the gravity of what I’ve done.  Once I repent, the shock of what I’ve done will come to me.

App:  How can I avoid the hardening of my own heart?  I need to avoid the hardening of my heart by guarding myself against my deceitful desires.  In v.21, it says that the Ephesians were taught “in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.”  I need to be steeped in God’s truths and the word of God.  It’s through focused time in the word of God regularly that will renew the proper attitude in my own mind.  After even just one day, I can feel so worn down, weak, scattered, and susceptible to my wrong desires.  It’s through my DTs and prayer that I can then put on the new self and be renewed in my commitments and desire to do God’s will rather than succumb to my own will.  These are really non-negotiable times because without them, wrong attitudes that oppose and dishonor God will gain viral strength inside my own heart.  The word of God, however, has the power to cleanse all that away for me.

Another way that I can avoid the hardening of my own heart is through the body of Christ.  Paul refers to how we must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to one another because we are all members of one body.  He encourages the Ephesians to commit themselves to each other and be the church.  It’s hard to live honestly and truthfully with one another but as I strive to do that, my wrong desires become more pronounced either for me to see or for others to see and call me on it.  It can be painful at times, but there is no alternative as Paul refers to the fact that there is a greater enemy (the devil) who is seeking to destroy us and so we need to help each other in this way.  I pray that I can be a person of humility that comes to the word of God and prayer daily with the recognition that it’s like critical medicine for my heart.  I pray that I will have the humility to receive truth from other people in the body of Christ knowing that it is God’s chosen way of purifying me to do His good works and become a person who can love others with His love.

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11 Responses to “Ephesians 4:17-32 Devotions Sharing”

  1. Sijii Lee says:

    Thanks Sunny for your sharing. =)

  2. ek says:

    thanks sunny and margie!

  3. chris says:

    thanks for sharing!

  4. Ernie says:

    thank you!

  5. Will says:

    Thanks for the sharing

  6. david says:

    thanks for sharing!

  7. dennis says:

    Thank you for sharing, the advice to really look to the Word of God and to the body to help guard against evil desires is really something I need to regularly remind myself of.

  8. Kenton says:

    thank you both for your sharing.

  9. dennisc says:

    thank you both for sharing!

  10. Shufei Lei says:

    thanks for your sharing..

  11. AC says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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