“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. 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.” —Ephesians 4: 17-18 (ESV)

Reading and rereading Ephesians 4:17-18, I look at the life I used to live, the man I used to be and then I look at the world as it is and I see this verse. It is easy to get hung up on Paul saying not to be like the Gentiles. If he lived today, he could just as easily have used “Unchurched” or “Unbelievers” or my fave: “Secular Society.”

Any thread on social media that has to do with faith shows what Paul is talking about. Unfortunately , some of us should keep this verse in mind when the anti-Christian naysayers wade in with their posted attacks. We should point them to Christ, embody the love that He is the embodiment of as God in the Flesh, and remember that their understanding has been darkened by their separation from God, while their hearts have been hardened. Essentially, show them Grace, as hard as that may be to do!

As members in the Body of Christ, that is: the Church, the Believers, the non-secular, we are not to walk in futility. I passed over the word futility a dozen or so times before I wondered how Paul meant it. I was surprised to learn that it means vanity, nothingness, deprivation and perverseness. Vanity is probably the word that jumps out first from that list of words. Most often we think of vanity in terms of people who are stuck on themselves. That song, “You’re so Vain” might even come to mind for those of us who listen to 70’s music.

However, deprivation is the descriptor that stuck out to me. We are not to live in the deprivation of our minds as those alienated from God live. The more I meditated on that, the more I started to think in terms of being alienated from a source of oxygen and the agonizing death of oxygen deprivation.

In this context, God is the Living Oxygen, in our lungs is His Eternal Breath, without Him we would surely suffocate and die, both spiritually and eternally. I picture those alienated from God, with their souls in an outer-space-like limbo gasping for breath until their eyes pop out of their heads. Pretty brutal, especially if you are a Sci-Fi fan and have seen silver screen representations of that! Obviously, far worse awaits those eternally alienated from God. The only conception my simple brain can come up with for suffocating in a Lake of Fire for eternity, would be surviving in anguish within the sun, gasping for breath only to inhale radiation and plasma. Horrific.

So, what about you? In what ways are you suffocating in your walk with Christ? Who do you know that needs the fresh air of God? Have you shared the Good News of the Gospel with them? In what areas is your heart hardened? Forgiveness? Mercy? Compassion? Generosity?

Until Next Time,
God Bless


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