Since my last major post was focused on few verses within the Letter to the Ephesians, I think it appropriate that today’s post also focus there. Here is a long admonition by Saint Paul:
17 Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; 18 they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; 19 they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. 20 You did not so learn Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. 22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not associate with them, 8 for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Our lives as Christians should be easily distinguishable from those lived by the non-believers around us. If the only difference between us and them is that we spend a bit of time on Sunday at church, we are doing something terribly wrong. Ours is a world of darkness and sin. Those who are of this world demonstrate this every day. If there is no difference between us, if we act nearly alike, then we too are of this world.
As Christians, if we are walking the narrow path we are going to stand out like a sore thumb. Given the plentiful opportunities this world provides for sin, there will be no lack of occasions for us to reject it. And even if we want to hide our resistance to temptation, we won’t always be able to. People will notice. And they will not like it. Our lives, if devoted to holiness, will be a testament to their darkness.
So where am I going with this? Simple. If you are living as a Christian
should must, you should constantly experience friction with the world around you. Sometimes this will manifest as terribly outright persecution, and other times it will be as lowly as side-long glances and looks of disapproval. However it comes about, we should rejoice in it; for it is a sign that we are putting off “our old nature” and building up a new, holy one.