Sunday, April 21, 2013

Living God's Grace into the Future!

Today's Scripture: Ephesians 4:17-24

  So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. They are people who lack all sense of right and wrong, and who have turned themselves over to doing whatever feels good and to practicing every sort of corruption along with greed.
  But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit  and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.

This scripture comes across as being a little holier-than-thou, doesn't it?  It reminds me of those preachers who prey on people's guilt:  "You're a dirty rotten sinner, now let me tell you how I think you ought to act."

But as I read this, I read something else in the scripture:  The old life is one of pointlessness, is dark, disconnected, hard-hearted, and filled with ignorance.  I can think of many times in my life when I experienced those things.  I hated it. Even the times that I didn't recognize the darkness and trouble in my life, I look back now and remember the empty feeling.  I don't think people want to live in darkness and pain.  I think people want a hope-filled and focused life filled with love.

We have a way out of the trouble and darkness.  Christ has shown us glimpses of what this world can look like and Christ shows us what love looks like.  The writer of Ephesians is inviting us to that freeing love.  We can let go of the problems and pain of the past and we can act with Christ's love and experience freedom.

For me, this is the Easter experience and that is what I want my life to look like going forward.  I hope you'll join me this easter as we let go of acting in ways that hurt (us and others) and will strive to live God's grace into the future!


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