Ephesians 4:17-18. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: ”
This verse introduces one of my favorite passages in the New Testament. Paul’s urgency in warning the Ephesian believers to put off the old ways and put on the new comes down through time, just as fresh and urgent to us today as it was back then.
We are not to be like unbelievers. They are “alienated” (turned away from, made strangers or enemies to) the life of God. They are so because of their ignorance of the things of God, and becuase their hearts and minds are blinded to the holiness and purity of God.
You know, I guess I’m old school. I grew up in churches that taught us that we were to put away worldliness. We were to live a life that refelcted well on God, and brought no shame to His Name. We were to assume that unbelievers were watching us, and that our lives could make the difference between someone trusting God or turning away from Him.
This was not a self-righteous, holier-than-thou way to live. This was before the era of ubiquituous Christian schools. We attended public school, and we held our testimonies as high as our courage would allow us. I wish I had been more concerned with the approval of my Savior, back then, than I actually was. I wanted to have friends, and I did, and they all knew I was the preacher’s kid and that I “wasn’t allowed” to do some of the things they did. I wish I had been bolder in taking a stand for godliness, not because it was “against my religion” to do certain things, but because I didn’t want to displease the Lord.
I wish so many of our young people, young adults, today were more concerned with keeping a crystal clear testimony for righteousness instead of walking as close to the world as possible while still claiming to be a Christian.
All of that has to come from the heart, not from rules that mean very little without a heart of love to please Jesus Christ in all that we say and do.