Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
“Now that they are ‘in Christ’, they have the responsibility, in the power of the Spirit, to take off the old lifestyle, the old way of being human, like someone stripping off a shabby and worn suit of clothing. It may have become comfortable. You may be used to it, and even quite like it. Familiar old clothes are often like that, and brand new ones often feel a bit strange. But if you want to live as a new person in and for the king, the old suit of clothes has to come off, and the new one has to go on.” [NT Wright, Ephesians for Everyone, 52]
Do you see that God has your life in mind even more than what you have in mind… even more than what you see and think? No matter how young or long we have been a Christian, God has something new for every single one of us – that’s a given – but are we willing to let go of the old or even what we currently know? Put off the old and let God make your mind new. Say yes to the Father for the new he has in mind and walk into it as you worship to “Here Again” by Elevation Worship (Click here).
Ephesians 4:20-21 – That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
“This isn’t a matter of university degrees and paper qualifications, helpful though they may be. It’s a matter of the heart and mind being open to the ever-wider range of insight and imagination that comes with ‘learning the king’ (verse 20) … So what Paul is urging the young Christians is that they allow this teaching of Jesus to have its full effect in their lives.” [NT Wright, Ephesians for Everyone, 51-52]
What makes up ‘the way of life’ that the Ephesian church learned? Is there an ‘ever wider range of insight and imagination’ that is filling your heart and mind as you learn the truth that is in Jesus?
Take time to pray for the truth in Jesus to fill your heart and mind with an ever wider range of insight and imagination for his kingdom. Likewise, take time to pray for this truth that is in Jesus to affect even more the lives in your church, missional group/campus ministry, and those in your immediate context as you worship to “There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do” by Passion (Click here).
Philippians 2:5-8 – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
“Conversion is a renunciation of a self-centered identity in favor of a Christ-defined identity. All that shapes us is given over to Christ, and his mindset of self-giving love becomes our mindset. Conversion is the restructuring of a person’s thinking by the Holy Spirit as the result of a direct encounter with the love of God in the person of Christ.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 240]
Because Jesus emptied himself for us and because ‘his mindset of self-giving love becomes our mindset,’ we can empty ourselves through the Spirit. This self-emptying love is being on point as a Christian. Take time to empty yourself before the Lord of specific thoughts, feelings, concerns, preferences that need to be let go of. Let God fill you with his love and thoughts as you worship to “Better Than Life” by Phil Wickham (Click here).
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving yourself so that I would be filled with life. Let your love change my thinking to give myself for your purpose. May there be more of you and less of me. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Ephesians 4:18-19 – They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
“Christianity is a religion that emphasizes on the one hand the futility and distortion of humanity without God and on the other hand the value of humanity in God’s eyes and with God… We [humanity] 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… We are caught in an increasing downward spiral of serving ourselves.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 237, 239].
Paul paints a very bleak picture of those who are separated from God. Do you agree with the strong language that Paul uses? How would you view yourself and those around you in the truth and love of God?
Take time giving yourself over to God’s truth and ways. Ask God for his perspective for the people around you in your life as you worship to “This We Know” by Passion (Click here).
Ephesians 4:17 – So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
“Paul asks his Gentile readers not to live like Gentiles! This sounds strange, but obviously “Gentile” could be used both in an ethnic sense and in a moral sense, somewhat akin to the earlier flexibility of the English word “pagan.” … While Paul could address them as Gentiles ethnically (2:11), he did not want his readers to be like the Gentiles among whom they lived.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 229]
What’s the difference between ‘in the Lord’ and ‘in the futility of their thinking’? Why did Paul insist that the Ephesian church no longer live and think as the Gentiles do?
If you are a student, then don’t just live like other students around you. If you are a working professional, then don’t just live like others in your workplace. As Christians, we are to be different from the world in how we live ‘in the Lord.’ Take time to reflect on any areas/thoughts that might be challenging your faith in God. Pray and insist that your thoughts and living be in the Lord as you worship to “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship (Click here).
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
“Several years ago, I began a new job thousands of miles from family and friends. Not long after settling in, the peculiar rhythms and challenges of the position left me lonely, regretful, and in despair. After a particularly hard day I confessed to a friend that I had no idea how I would make it through the remainder of my contract. She listened, prayed with me, and promised to keep believing and trusting in God’s goodness toward me even if I struggled to do so. A week later, she sent me a few words of encouragement she had scribbled on the back of a napkin. She continued sending similar notes every week for the next several months until I found myself on stronger ground. Her messages rarely said much beyond a few words of scripture or a reminder of some event in the past in which God’s presence had been palpable in my life. Over time, I found myself more attuned to the presence of God around me. Above all, the notes reminded me of the ways in which God has always made a way out of seemingly no way – from the dawn of creation until now.” [Maria Kane, The Upper Room: Daily Devotions, p.320]
Are you surrounded by wilderness and wasteland? Take time to ask the Lord for his way and the new thing he has planned for your life as you worship to “My All in All” by Phil Wickham. (Click Here)
Pray also for those in your church, missional group, or campus ministry. Ask God to fill you with visions, dreams and the new thing that he desires for people around you.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
“Sometimes our greatest threat is not from what others do to us but what we do to ourselves… I was eager to quiet comments about my age and fitness by leading in whatever way I could. If people expected me to serve for forty hours a week, I’d serve fifty… It didn’t take long for a case of burnout to reveal that much of what I thought was proof of my dedication and leadership was actually a case of pride and fear – fear of letting people down, of not being who I thought others expected me to be, of not being enough. In short, I was afraid to acknowledge the limitation of being human.” [Maria Kane, The Upper Room: Daily Devotions, p.321]
How can our own work sometimes get in the way of God’s grace?
Have you ever tried to make up for or worked harder to cover up past regrets or limitations?
Today, let go of being driven by the past but let God’s grace fill you as you worship to “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman. (Click Here)
Prayer: Lord, I am your handiwork, ‘created in Christ Jesus to do good works.’ Continue to open my heart, ears and eyes to your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT)22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
“As famed NBA rebounder Larry Bird has said, “Most rebounds are taken below the rim. That’s where I get mine.” Knowing this, Bird intentionally positions himself near the rim because the key to a successful rebound is to be where you can move forward once you grab the ball. Likewise, the key to a successful rebound in the Christian life is to position yourself underneath the comprehensive rule of God. When you align yourself with God’s rule – what I refer to as God’s kingdom agenda – you are in the best position for your rebound.” [Tony Evans, It’s Not Too Late, p.172-173]
What are some parallels in the above passage (i.e., repeated words/thoughts in vv.22-23)?
What does the writer speak to himself (v.24) and why (hint: think about what a lament is)?
God’s comprehensive rule includes his faithful love and mercies that never cease. For that reason, it’s never too late for us to position ourselves to receive and come under God’s mercies that begin afresh each morning. The best rebound moves you forward with the Lord as your inheritance and hope.
Take time to pray and declare Lamentations 3:22-24, especially over any past regrets.
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
“I know that growing up brings challenges, but you never need to doubt that God will give you the help and strength you need to face them. Quietly trust that God is still in charge and working out things according to His own good plan. Believe me, God’s grace is more than enough for this time of your life. Even as I grow older, I am learning, day by day, to keep my mind focused on Jesus. When I do, worries and anxieties and concerns of the world pass away, and nothing but “perfect peace” is left in my heart.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day, p.272]
According to the Ephesians’ passage, what were we before without Christ?
What are we now with Christ and what was the reason according to the passage? How can this apply to your past and any regrets you might have?
Moving forward from your regrets is a lot easier when you see his ‘grace is more than enough for this time of your life.’ God is rich in mercy and has made/makes us alive with Christ. Ask and receive mercy from our Lord as you worship to “Thank You Jesus” by Hillsong. (Click Here)
Prayer: Father, you are rich in mercy and great in love. I need your mercy, Lord, to wash away any wrongs in my heart. Thank you that I’m alive in Christ and help me to move forward by keeping ‘my mind focused on Jesus.’
2Corinthians 7:10 (NIV) Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
“What is the difference between God’s way of sadness and the world’s way of sadness? The two types can be seen sharply set out in two of the central characters of the gospel story. On the night of the Last Supper, Peter followed Jesus to the high priest’s house, where he proceeded to deny three times that he’d ever known Jesus. On realizing what he’d done, Peter went out and cried like a baby. That was the first step towards the restoration that came with Jesus’ appearance to him (Luke 24.34; 1 Corinthians 15.5) and the remarkable conversation with Jesus by the lakeshore (John 21.15–19). His sadness led him to repentance, and that was a cause, ultimately, for rejoicing. On the other hand, Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, showing the high priest’s servants where to find him in the dark, was plunged into the darker depths of the world’s way of sadness. In Matthew’s account, he flings down the money he’d been paid at the feet of the chief priests, and goes off and hangs himself (Matthew 27.5). Two types of sadness; two end results.” [Wright, NT For Everyone: 2Corinthians, p.78-79]
Why does worldly sorrow bring death?
What’s the difference between repentance and regret?
Past regrets can burden and bury us, but that’s not to be our outcome as Christians. God offers another opportunity to turn and seek his help. Offer your past regrets to God and let the Lord lift you up.
Prayer: Lord, you are good. Help me to repent of any past regrets. Lead me in your salvation that leaves no regret. In Jesus’ name. Amen.