Google+ 03/04/13 Choose Door Number 1!

Ephesians 4:17-18

 

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.

Their minds are full of darkness;

They wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds

And hardened their hearts against him. 

 

Hopelessly confused?  Can Paul actually be telling the Church at Ephesus that for the Gentiles, there is absolutely no hope?  Doesn't God wish for EVERYONE to be saved?  How could this be?  I am intent on explaining this concept in my devotion today.  I have become increasingly concerned, like Paul, about people who profess to be Christians, but simply do not acknowledge or understand the truth.  There is a reason that the Bible contains 66 books that all support and agree with each other!  Today's Scripture deals with a major dilemma which all of us face every day.  Paul is attempting to explain to the Ephesians that God has put them all together to work as one.  Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift, that God has bestowed upon them, to use for the Kingdom.  Not everyone has spiritual gifts!  Yes, I said that out loud because the Scripture does!  Only Christians have spiritual gifts, because they are the ones that are supposed to work in God's "vineyards."   Paul comes right out in our Scripture today and tells the Ephesians that since they have declared an allegiance to Jesus Christ, they can no longer live as Gentiles.  Basically, Paul has exclaimed that Christianity is a lifestyle, not a label!  Paul then goes on to explain why Christians can't live like Gentiles.  Those that do not believe have filled their minds with great darkness.  They have chosen to separate themselves from their God-given life, by closing their minds and hardening their hearts.  I will not apologize for how difficult this truth might be for anyone to hear.  God gave us free will.  Because He did, we have the "right" to make choices.  Worshiping God and following Jesus requires us to make good choices.  We cannot be around people who constantly make bad choices, especially when they know what the good choices SHOULD be.  Satan uses the "Gentiles" to work against the Kingdom, because Satan knows he can.  A hardened heart and a closed mind are the devil's playground.   Paul is not suggesting that we stop our evangelistic efforts.  Neither am I!!!   Paul is explaining to the Ephesians that once the message is preached, be discerning about what happens next.  If we say "YES" to Jesus, our behavior, activities, tongue, actions, worship, and prayer should reflect our allegiance to Him.  That is why building your "Family of God" is so important.  By "fellowshipping in the temple daily" with our Family of God, we will remain accountable in making good choices.   We will not harden our hearts and close our minds.  We will always be learning in the Spirit.  We will function as "one body" with many important, different parts.  Each of us will use our spiritual gifts for the Glory of God.  In return, God will bless us and grow our gifts in ways we never even dreamed.  So let's choose today, happy or sad.  Let's choose today to follow Jesus and say "YES" all the time!  Paul warns us that if we don't say "YES," we have said "NO."  There is nothing in between.  Let's make a deal.  Decide today if you wish to be a blessed and productive Christian and choose "door number 1," or be a hopelessly confused Gentile , with a closed mind and hardened heart, and choose "door number 2."   If you choose "door number 1," hang on to it!  There is not a better deal behind "door number 2," even though, from the outside, the curtain seems prettier!  Don't trade what you have.  There is nothing there for you but a "zonk!!!"