SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In the first section Paul explains the process God uses to help us live new lives in Christ.
- The first few verses we're encouraged to set our hearts and minds on "things above" - on God, and on things that have to do with and please God.
- Then we learn that there are some things (attitudes and behaviors) we need to put off, and others we need to put on, almost like someone changing their clothes.
- In verses 15-17 we discover that learning the Bible and singing to God can't just be a once-a-week church service thing, but needs to be the atmosphere of our lives. It needs to be something we do on our own, and with other Christians, on a consistent basis.
- In the last section, different relationships we have and how they should be lived out are listed. We've pointed out in an earlier post that husbands are also called to submit to their wives, and wives are also called to love their husbands, and discussed why these particular commands are given to each. For more, see the post on Ephesians 5. We've also discussed the situation with slavery in an earlier post, and how Paul is not condoning slavery. For more, see the post on Ephesians 6.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- What we desire and focus on largely determines our decisions and our actions, so truly setting our hearts and minds on things above will change the whole scope of our lives. If you can flood your heart and mind with "things above" (thinking about God, reading the Bible, singing to God, etc.) you will be amazed at what happens as you will become more and more like Him.
- Changing how we live so we can be more like Jesus and more pleasing to God is not something that happens automatically. We need to make deliberate choices (daily) to put to death things that are not Christ-like, and to "put on" things that are Christ-like. These are choices we have to make. However, when we make those choices, God gives us power to live by them. We are not changing our lives; we are partnering with God and He changes our lives.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What of your old ways do you need to put to death? (See examples in verses 5-9.) What Christ-like characteristics do you need to put on? (See examples in verses 12-14.) It starts with a decision, so make the decision right now to actually do this, and spend some time praying - asking God to give you the strength to live up to your new commitment. Also share your decision with a trusted friend who can pray for you and provide accountability.
- Memorize verse 17. It's a great one to set your heart and mind on.