Think Godly, act Godly. The opposite is true too. Eph 4:17-24

Dealing with sin.  There is so much to be said about it.  But it all comes down to a state of

A mindset on God's Truth sets you free

mind or attitude.  What you set your mind on, that is what will control your actions.  What you focus your thoughts on in any situation controls your attitude and feelings about the situation, you act on what your attitude tells you to do.  If something is not fair, you react.  If something is desirous, you plunge in.  If we can control our thoughts in alignment with the promptings of the Holy Spirit by what is in accordance with His Word regarding each situation, we have victory. 

Eph 4:17So 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. 18 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. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more… put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

Words like the ones emboldened in the text above explain a lot into the progression of sin in our society today just as it was apparently back in Paul’s day.

Sin is deceitful because our desires for it fool us into thinking that the sin which we “gotta have” will satisfy.  And it does for a very short time but then death takes over.  You feel terrible until the next deceitful enticement approaches.  Before you know it, Satan has got you living “with a continual lust for more” like a drug addiction.  Then after that, your “conscience is seared as with a hot iron,” and your heart is hardened- losing all sensitivity to sin.  Paul writes it a different but similar way in the book of Romans…

Romans Ch 1:18 through the end of the chapter has a similar progression.  Here are 7 steps to depravity.  Remember that these are people who knew God (Definitely take a look at Deut 8:11-14 ).  Yet the rest of the chapter talks of their demise.  It all starts with:

1-      vs 21 we do not give God his rightful place as God in our lives and that we are not thankful for everything which befalls us.  When we are the source and purpose of all things in our lives, nothing else matters.  We use whatever there is in life to serve our self interests.  Verse 21 continues to say that our thinking and hearts become darkened by our choices.  the rest of the steps are

2-      2- vs 18 we suppress the truth by our choice for wickedness, God’s thoughts don’t matter anymore to us.

3-      3-vs 23 exchange God’s glory for images (things in this world),

4-      4-vs 25 we exchange Gods’ truth for lies of the world, we buy into the philosophies of the world.

5-      5- vs 28 we do not even think it worthwhile to retain God in our knowledge,

6-      6- vs 32 we approve of others who do the same things,

7-      7- vs 26 God’s gives us up to the natural and supernatural consequences.

You see here the Law of diminishing returns means that it takes more and more depravity to thrill to the same level spiraling out of control.  I have left out the juicy disgusting detail as to the actions that these attitudes produce.

But how do we avoid this progression to the dark side of our natures?  Back to Eph 4.

Eph 4:20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 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; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Back to Romans for some additional advice, Rom 12:1,2 tell us to renew our thinking because of all the mercies shown to us through the first 11 chapters of the this book.  Be aware of what God has done to bring us his salvation.  Keeping a strong faith is the key to avoid this slippery slope of sin and so verses like Romans 1:11 which refer to our fellowship and encouragement with and from other believers.  Suffice it to say that there is strength in numbers to overcome sin.  And Hebrews even tells us such, 3:12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Ps 119:9-11How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11            I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Colossians 3:1-3; Phil 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; Ps 19:14 all have the same great message, if you think on Godly things, you will act godly.  There is no cute method to avoid sin, but if your heart is set on loving God, then you will be less likely to be attracted away from him to offend him by sinning.

Eve in the Garden had her eyes set on the fruit and desired what Satan promised.  She did not have God’s Word cemented in her thinking; she added her own wisdom in her rebuttal to the snake, so she fell to the deceit.

The ultimate question is:  What do you want more in life, to desire God, or live for things of

this world?  This will tell you whether you will be prone to fall to Satan’s deceptions.  We all do fall daily, but if we desire God, and put our thoughts on him, the frequency will diminish.

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
This entry was posted in Spiritual, The book of Ephesians and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Think Godly, act Godly. The opposite is true too. Eph 4:17-24

  1. Stu Bryant says:

    Steve,

    Good stuff! I doubt if any time in history the Truth could be more needed. Kids here stateside have it much harder than we did although they have no clue- absolute Truth is not a concept they grasp it seems. God’s Word therefore is far less significant in their thinking, and they buy into the lies even more readily than our generation. As if it wasn’t too easy for us already- but I think they start out two thirds of the way down the list, sadly. I suspect third culture kids might see this far differently than the average American kid. I sure hope so! Darkness exists in every culture, and the Lord is the Light to every culture. May we shine brightly in Him to show the way!

    Stu Bryant CHC 1980~83

  2. strostrud says:

    Thanks for the comment. Sin is so deceiving. We can’t see it in our own cultures. Remember the whole speck in our eye parable?
    It is funny kind of that the last people on earth to realize how far off the mark culturally we are is we ourselves. Let me explain. As a foreign Christian in another land, it is relatively easy to spot things in the host country which are against God’s principles which they don’t even see. In this country, child discipline is non existent. God’s word says to not spare the rod. Don’t worry about his crying as it will spare his life. Also, for someone own up to error or mistakes that they have made is a dreadful concept for them. We have to be very careful not to point out things in their lives so as not to shame them. Well what happened to confess your faults one to another? Yet by comparison these believers put us American Christians to shame regarding helping and taking care of each others’ needs and we don’t even recognize it in ourselves. God’s word is the standard for directing every culture into what He would have for them to do. We are just blind to our own sins. However we are encouraged to let the Holy Spirit take the truth and open their eyes, just like he does for us. We are not here to make little American churches but Holy Spirit led believers who respond to Him and thus remove that in their culture which is offensive to the Lord.

  3. wayneaugden says:

    I appreciate your comment. I wish all christians would understand 1 John 2:15, and apply it to their lives more than they do. I’m not perfect, and well understand the temptation to mix with the world, but we do so at our peril. Keep fighting the good fight of faith! Your brother-in-Christ.

  4. strostrud says:

    We fail to take into consideration that God’s Word is actual fact, proven throughout history to be reliable, accurate and thus the authoritative truth in all situations. Only when we acknowledge this fact will we be at a place to obey what God says and change our thinking. If we don’t hold to God’s truth, we will do what we feel like doing in any situation without remorse. This is why the “world” needs to write off the Bible so they don’t have to deal with it. It is therefore imperative that we place high priority to be in His Word to know Him in order avoid falling into worldly temptation. “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

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