Ephesians 4:17-19 - 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk 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 sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Have you ever sprained your ankle? If you step on it in ways it wasn’t meant to be, you can tear a ligament that normally connects bone and joint. What’s the result? Well, crutches are often needed, and you definitely don’t walk the way you used to. If you did, the ankle would never heal. Conversely, if your ankle were damaged but now healed, you would once again be able to walk normally and wouldn’t need to limp.
Life is a lot like walking. We go where our hearts lead us and our minds control the direction of our steps. The challenge for Christians is the same as for someone who once had a sprained ankle: though we are healed, crooked walking can be so familiar that we revert to it.
The key to avoiding a fall is to know how this crooked pattern works. To mix metaphors, the pattern driving our steps is a lot like a plant: it has a root, a stem, and fruit.
Paul says the root of the Gentiles’ (in this case, he means non-Christians) crooked steps is a hard, or callous heart (v.18,19). Non-Christians are not soft to God’s leadership and guidance. They don’t want him to direct their steps because they see themselves as the boss. The root of a hard heart leads to the stem of a futile mind and darkened understanding (v.17, 18). Broken thinking produces the fruit of action: walking in total surrender - not to God, but to sensuality (v.19).
As we embrace this warning from Paul, we live (walk) differently than non-Christians. We find life in God (v.18), and by the power of the Holy Spirit, choose to walk with him (Gal. 5:16-26).
• Honestly allow God to search your heart (root). Are there sensual sins you find yourself daydreaming about? Are there actions (fruit) you have surrendered yourself to and need to walk away from?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for life in Jesus and the presence of his Spirit to guide our steps.