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.

Ephesians 4: 17

 

You have probably seen at least one of the many windup or battery powered toys that continually run into objects, turn away from that barrier and then travel straight into another collision. We can laugh at them and yet, I think, this laughter is mostly the result of how much of ourselves we see in the behavior. I certainly know that I see myself and feel the lumps, bumps, and bruises that result from all of those ongoing and unnecessary head-banging sessions. Now I can handle a nick or a scrape from time to time; so, I am really talking about the situations where I don’t listen to someone well and hurt them with my harsh responses and the days where I only have time for myself and my needs so that the Lord is left out of my thinking and the truth of His Gospel seems like forgotten history in comparison to my thoughts and actions.

 

When viewed in the light of my spiritual resume with over fifty years spent as a follower of Christ, you might think that these sorts of failures in my Christian testimony and behavior would be far in the past. However, I must confess that their presence in me is far too real and their currency is as close as yesterday. Yet, i do know the difference between my thoughts and actions in these times of futility and the ones that Christ desires for me to have and that He leads me into. This thing that is often known as conscience is in fact the real and active presence of the Holy Spirit within me, and He not only prompts righteous living but He also works within to transform the old ways of engaging with life into a life of truly walking with Christ

 

This is where futility comes into the picture. Foe God’s way of thinking and acting is different from the ones that all of us were born into. The Lord desires for people to live in a manner that is concerned for others, is willing to sacrifice my own desires and comfort for the sake of another person’s well-being, and that speaks out boldly through words and actions about the salvation that comes only through relationship with Christ. This is the path that leads out of the futility that comes about when we travel through life without Christ’s guidance and into the roadway that is illuminated by the light of the Gospel. For me to stay on this road, I need to stay prayerfully in God’s Word seeking His truth for all aspects of life, I must remain engaged in fellowship with Christ’s body, and in all I have to recognize that I do nothing on my own and out of my own strength as all that is worthwhile is done in and through Christ. With all of this in mind, I might actually avoid adding one more lump on my forehead today.

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