There are few things as exciting as watching toddlers take their first steps. They represent so much. But basically they are clear indications that this child is growing up. Ephesians 4 is all about walking (v. 1) and growing up (v. 13-15). As believers we are expected to develop a walk that is worthy of all the awesome things that we read about in the first three chapters. This is so important that one of the key roles of a pastor is to help equip us in the process (v. 11,12). I like how that maturity is linked with serving God, edifying other believers, unity, discernment, and good communication. It is not just associated with head knowledge. Paul also reminds us of the process of growth. We tend to have fleshly habits that need to be removed (v. 22) and spiritual habits that need to be put on (v. 24). This exchange is possible through the renewing of the mind (v.23). Genuine long lasting growth is more than just external changes; it is based upon internal convictions. If we count on simple replacement we change a current behavior. However, the renewing of the mind impacts the growth of future behavior. Verses 25-32 include particular examples of the put off, put on and renew principle. Notice how the process impacts the following common problems: communication issues; anger; covetousness; corrupt words; unkindness; bitterness. I encourage you to take a few minutes to study these verses to find the replacement for each of these items and to also determine what biblical truth should drive the motivation for that particular change. For example: verse 28 = put away stealing; put on working and giving; renew your mind to think that it is better to give to others than to take from them. Giving is a characteristic of God, covetousness is not. The point is we may never steal something from another person, but still have stunted growth because we are too selfish to give. Toddlers tend to tumble and in reality so do Christians, this is why it is important to revisit this process on a regular basis. We never stop growing. Therefore, we should never stop renewing our mind with the Scriptures.
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