“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.


So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:17-27 (NLT)



Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus about how they were following Jesus. The book of Ephesians addressed the identity of believers who are in Christ while urging them to align their behavior with their beliefs. In Ephesians 4, Paul called for unity among the believers in Ephesus and for them to not be swayed by every false teaching they encountered. They needed to be set apart from the people who did not know God who give into every whim and desire they may experience. Paul challenged the people to take an aggressive approach in separating themselves from their old life. A life lived with lust, deception, confusion, and anger was not what Christ was offering them. In Christ, they needed to allow the Holy Spirit to renew their minds so that the sins of the past would not be the lifestyle of their future. Therefore, when Christ was reigning over their hearts and minds, the devil had no place to take possession of their lives.


When we come to Jesus, He starts renewing our hearts and minds. However, it is up to us to throw off the old self. The action of throwing off is intentional and not passive. Paul juxtaposed this thought with how anger can give the devil a foothold in our lives. Consider this analogy for a moment. If a door is closed, but you have a foot in between the door and frame, you can eventually get in the door. When we take a passive approach to our sin, we let our old self and the sinful desires be swept into the corner instead of swept out of the house. We may wonder why we repeatedly struggle with the same struggles. Are we allowing the Spirit of God to renew our minds? Many of the struggles we face walking with God are in our minds. We may struggle with wanting our own way or trying to control our lives instead of surrendering wholly to Jesus. Much like we put clothes on every day, we have to put on the new nature in Christ, which is being renewed day by day. Does this mean that we won’t ever sin? No, but it does mean we have a strategy to overcome the struggles that hold us captive. Christ working in us enables us to stand firmly in our new identity in Christ. It may be time to once again pull the broom out of the closet and sweep out the old self to make room for God’s Spirit to grow a fruitfulness in our lives. Thankfully, He’s not finished with us yet.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About Hona Amer

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