SUPPORTSeptember 1 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 135–136; 1 Corinthians 12
Be made new in the attitude of your minds.
READ Ephesians 4:20–32
It was time to give the inside of our home a fresh, new look. But just as I’d begun prepping a room for painting, our state government announced it would be halting the sale of many home improvement items due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as I heard the announcement, I rushed to the store and purchased the essential materials. You simply can’t remodel without the proper supplies.
Paul had a bit of a remodeling project in mind when he wrote Ephesians 4. But the changes he was talking about went far beyond superficial alterations. Even though trusting Jesus as Savior makes us a new creation, there’s still some ongoing work the Spirit needs to do. And it takes time and work for Him to accomplish “true righteousness and holiness”
The presence of the Spirit makes needed changes on the inside that can help us reflect Jesus in our words and actions. He helps us replace lying with speaking “truthfully” (v. 25). He guides us to avoid sin in regard to anger (v. 26). And He directs us to speak words that are “helpful for building others up” (v. 29). These Spirit-controlled actions are part of the internal change that’s manifested in things like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (v. 32). The Spirit works in us to enable us to imitate Jesus Himself and reflect the heart of our heavenly Father (v. 24; 5:1).
By Dave Branon
REFLECT & PRAY
In what areas do you need the Holy Spirit to make real, heart-based improvement in you through His leading and strength? How will you get started?
Loving God, thank You for making me a new creation in Christ. Help my actions, through Your guidance, to reflect the change You’ve made in me.
Ephesians 4:32 describes some of the evidence of a changed life: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Interestingly, these words were written to a culture very much like the world in which we live today. It was one in which the claims of Christ were disregarded, corruption was widespread throughout its institutions, and people were prone to use others to advance themselves. Yet, in the face of these problems the apostle Paul issued the challenge to believers in Christ for our heart-response to be in contrast to that culture. Kindness, compassion, and forgiveness express the countercultural life of Jesus Himself and remind us that our great goal and need is to be like Him.
By Bill Crowder