Co-pastor Paul McDill gave an excellent treatment of Ephesians 4:17–32 last Sunday, which encouraged us all to embrace fully the new life in Christ that we were given the moment we crossed the line of faith. He was careful to leave no question marks hovering about in that airy space between my ears by telling us how we can actually do it: by the renewing of our mind.
Leaving the church, I could not help but couple last week’s message with today’s teaching, thus contemplating the entire fourth chapter of Ephesians. As I did, one of the first things that stood for me was the apostle wanting his readers to focus on the purpose of the gifts mentioned in 4:11, and not on the persons by whom the gifts were administered. Having said that, and at risk of offending some, I am compelled to also say this: I would be extremely hesitant to look up to anyone claiming to be an apostle or prophet in today’s church world. In my personal studies, I find the biblical criterion authenticating such a claim cannot be met by men today. In fact, I would say, “Run, Forrest! Run!” Run for your life, believer. Do not follow such a person (read and study 2 Timothy 3).
The bottom line for me today: Ephesians 4 encourages me to grow up to a mature manhood. Do you recall Paul telling the Believers in Corinth this:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
— 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
We are to do the same, but how? How do we leave behind the infancy stages of faith, the childhood wanderings that feed our tendency to drift back to our former lifestyles? As Paul McDIll said on Sunday: by having a renewed mind.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 2:5 NKJV
However, a better translation of the word “mind” would be “mindset,” as rendered in the NIV. Were you to ask Jesus how you might go about having such a mind, how to develop this mindset, I think he might direct you to Matthew 4:4, where he cites Deuteronomy, 8:3 saying:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
— Matthew 4:4
That’s the way he did it, and the way we must do it. There are no shortcuts.
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, all Scripture, Old and New Testament alike, is the word of God. “All Scripture is breathed out by God,” Timothy is told. And the more we feast on it as Jesus did, like James and John, Peter and Paul, the more we will mature into men and women of faith with renewed minds.
Consider Psalm 1. Read it as if it were the miracle formula to the renewing of your mind.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
— Psalm 1:1–3 ESV