Your Voice: 3 lessons from Ephesians for the ‘new you’

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Your Voice: 3 lessons from Ephesians for the ‘new you’

Do you ever feel like you need an extreme makeover? Here is one everyone needs.

Second Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Major W. Ian Thomas said, “There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him for what He did, but they do not live in the power of who He is.”

Ephesians 4:17–24 offers several things believers need to do.

1. Believers need to be challenged to renounce pagan practices.

Ephesians 4:17–19 begins, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk … .”

Someone describes these pagans as follows: “They are trying to assemble a great jigsaw puzzle — the ‘puzzle’ that reveals the answers to life — in the dark.” In Romans 1:21, we read of those without Christ, those who “became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

When your life is dominated by the pagan practices of sin and selfishness, it is indeed a wasted life.

2. Believers need to be charged to remember perfect precepts.

Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).

Are you paired up with Jesus Christ in a personal relationship? Walking with Him means self-denial (Luke 9:23–26).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”

Vance Havner laments, “The church is not witnessing miracles today because of contention, belligerency, lack of love; by flippancy that makes light of holy things; by self-satisfaction, surfeited and gorged by too much of everything except what we need most.”

3. Believers need to be changed to reflect pure principles.

Ephesians 4:22–24 reads, “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” The pure principles are “true righteousness and holiness.”

We must pursue both (2 Tim. 2:22, Heb. 12:14).  However, we must remember the change is not behavior modification; it is biblical transformation (Rom. 12:2).

While we do not work for our salvation (Eph. 2:8–9), we are to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12b). Remember this, dear believer, as you think about the new you!

By Franklin L. Kirksey
Robertsdale, Ala.

When words hinder the gospel

Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

A biblical principle I have regretfully learned the hard way is the importance of staying under the authority of God when it comes to the use of my tongue.

I always wanted to state my cause, my opinion and my dislike toward the situation I was facing.

Yet instead of helping, I repeatedly became a hindrance to the gospel message.

I often hurt others with my words, as well as my Heavenly Father with my disobedience.

We must seek to honor God in what we say and how we handle situations.

May we allow God’s Word to be the guiding force of our communication with others, instead of our emotions.

May we always seek His glory above our own flesh in how we deal with brothers and sisters in Christ.

O’Shea Lowery
Entrusted Hope Ministries
Dallas, Texas

Sometimes we just need to wipe the weariness and worry from our eyes so we can see God more clearly. Life’s heartaches and stress can blur our vision of who God is and who we are. Today, ask God to open your eyes so you can see Him, His plan and His purposes.

Everything else will come into focus.

Lord, give me a right view of You. When I see You clearly, everything in my life will come into focus. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild
via Facebook

I love this verse: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). I think it’s time we as Alabama Baptists turn our lights on “high beam!”

Wayne Honeycutt
Chelsea, Ala.

God has all the answers in Scripture. I want to run to Him and not trust in any teacher, in any man, but to entrust myself fully to my loving heavenly Father’s care.

Jinger Duggar Vuolo
Author, “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear”

Are you a ‘just because’ Christian?

Janie, 11, an aspiring soccer star, walked into her bedroom. A gift-wrapped box rested on her bed. She ripped it open. “A new soccer ball!” Janie shrieked. “But it’s not Christmas or my birthday,” Janie puzzled. Mom explained, “I did it just because I love you!”

Jesus’ last four beatitudes teach how to relate with people. The first of those reveals a “just because” present to give and receive — mercy. It’s more than feeling sorry for someone. Mercy demands actions that forgive, support and relieve pain. Mercy runs to help where it’s needed.

Count mercy among one of God’s main characteristics. You can’t earn it. You need mercy because of the disaster you’ve made of your life. His forgiveness motivates believers to grant mercy to others. Not because they deserve it. But “just because” you’ve received it.

A Jesus story illustrates mercy given and mercy abused (Matt. 18:23–38). A king forgave a servant’s massive debt. The relieved man found a co-worker and demanded repayment of a small debt. Unable to repay, the co-worker was consigned to debtor’s prison. Hearing of the forgiven man’s unmerciful actions, the king withdrew mercy.

Failure to practice mercy and forgiveness exposes a lack of openness to God’s mercy. Are you a “just because” kind of Christian? Who are you having trouble forgiving? Pray for the Lord to heal your unmerciful heart.

Darryl Wood
From “Liberty Living”
Liberty Baptist Church
Chelsea, Ala.

“These days, we hear a lot about transparency. Your local newspapers play an important role in making sure relevant information citizens need to make informed decisions is disclosed,” said Felicia Mason, executive director of the Alabama Press Association, and Darrell Sandlin, APA president.

“When someone entrusts us with their story, I hope we are equipped to be the refuge God has called His church to be,” said Brad Hambrick, general editor of the Southern Baptist curriculum “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused.”

“I think most Christians today recognize that all people need theology because there’s so much unhealthy and unbiblical theology out there. And a lot of women are discipling other people — their kids and whoever else is in their lives,” said Phylicia Masonheimer, author of “Every Woman a Theologian.”

God is faithful. There are lifetimes witnessing to His faithfulness before me, there will be lifetimes telling of His faithfulness after me, and His sovereign hand will be faithful throughout my lifetime as well.

Jessica Ingram
“A lifetime of faithfulness”

Time is a man-made thing. God created days; man created hours. “In the beginning, the evening and the morning were the first day” and so on and so forth for seven days. Time does not bother God as it does us. He is eternal and doesn’t have any watches, clocks or calendars in heaven. One day, we won’t have any either.

Bill King
Opelika, Ala.

Take time and pray for someone you know who is lost. Take time today and think through how you can engage others with the gospel.

I encourage you to pray for a renewed sense of urgency to share the gospel every chance you get.

Nathan Lorick
Executive director
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

From the Twitterverse


To love God means to passionately pursue His glory.


The only thing more costly than following Christ is not following Him.


In a declining/dying church, the remaining members are not an obstacle to your ministry. They are your ministry. —Henry Blackaby


If you refuse to use your spiritual gift apart from recognition, a title and a paycheck, then you are not serving God but yourself.


For a Christian, the end never justifies the means. A project, work or effort must have godly integrity at every step.God knows our intentions and cares for our character.


A pastor must seek to be a servant before and above seeking to be a leader.


“Christian faith is hope resting
on fact — namely, the fact that Jesus rose bodily from the grave.” —JI Packer


Pastors, it’s OK to go to bed and let go of all that happened today. Jesus has it.


No matter what people (even those calling themselves Christians) do to you, don’t forget what Christ has done for you. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


The church is the only organization that Jesus started. Jesus said He would build the church ‘and all the powers of hell will not conquer it’ (Matt. 16:18 NLT). Every believer needs to be an active part of the church because it is where we learn about God together.”


“Jesus Christ was not just a great teacher or a holy religious leader. He was God Himself in human flesh — fully God and fully man.”


Charles Spurgeon on getting ready to preach — “Kill yourself with work and then pray yourself alive again.”