In Christ: A Journey Through Ephesians

Devotional



We live in a 'quick-fix, 'give me the pill', 'teach me the diet/ program' world.  We live in an 'all will be well' type of culture. Unfortunately, we can easily transfer this mentality into our faith life. We may even expect to receive all the benefits of faith—the peace, joy, deep community, and abundant life God promised—through an instant download. 


I’ve discovered, through years of chasing after my own supposedly instant “solutions,” to live differently, I must act differently, and take responsibility for my thoughts, as they lead my behavior. Therefore, true and lasting transformation begins in my heart and my head. 


This is why Paul said, in Ephesians 4:23, to be “made new in the attitudes of [our] minds.” We read similar words in Romans 12:2, which states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”


We’re always being influenced by something, either passively or actively. Apart from Christ, we’re like a ship tossed about on a stormy sea, tugged and pulled toward every seemingly great idea or ideology. 


This was me for a long time. I never really paused to evaluate my values or view of the world. Instead, I absorbed them after years of living, immersed, in my culture. My perspective largely reflected popular television or the lyrics of the latest pop song. And oh, how wise I believed I was! If asked, I could’ve argued myself red-faced. But in reality, I was quite foolish. My thinking was futile, leading me toward painful ends: the near-death of my marriage, thousands of dollars in debt, broken friendships, and addictive behaviors. 


But then, slowly but steadily, as I read Scripture day after day after day, God began to renew my mind, molding my thoughts to mirror His. And just as steadily, my behavior changed as well, leading to transformed relationships and, really, a transformed life. 


I’ve heard a lot of women share their deepest struggles. They proclaim, and often with tears, how much they long for better, for them and their children. But almost just as often, when I share the surest route to freedom—anchoring themselves deeply in God’s truth—they say they simply don’t have time to read their Bibles.


And I’m always struck by the sad irony. I battle anxiety, so I know what a thief it can be. It can steal my time, my efficiency, and my sleep, rendering me completely ineffective for whatever task, conflict, or uncertainty I’ve worried myself ill about. I’ve also wasted so much time cleaning up messes I could’ve avoided, had I known and followed God’s revealed will. 


Here’s what I’ve determined... Life’s battles are far too intense for me to enter them ill-prepared and unequipped. Whereas I might have once been tempted to think, like some of those women I spoke with, that I simply didn’t have time to read Scripture, I now know that I don’t have time not to. 


I refuse to live like a wave-tossed ship, rushing toward the jagged rocks. God has so much more planned for me—peace and joy and abundant life. God has a divine plan for you, as well, and if you'll only follow Him, that’s precisely where He’ll lead and guide you. 


~Jennifer Slattery