So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him. Ephesians 4:17-21a
I’ve always been struck, i.e. convicted, by these verses. It’s been cause for pause to assess who’s drumbeat I’m marching to.
It appears possible–and I’ve proven this many times in the laboratory of life–to find myself veering down the shadowy futile path of the world. It’s normally a subtle yaw to the right or left, marked by a little stubbornness, a little callousness, a little greediness, a little sensuality. It’s knowing the right thing to do and hesitating to do it.
Paul here refers to this behavior as akin to the practices of the Gentiles (or heathens), who are incapable of godliness because they’re devoid of God’s spirit.
To walk in such a fashion is to purposely refuse the extended warranty plan, so to speak.
Every biblical teaching contradicts the validity of such behavior in the life of a believer. Worse, do we really want someone questioning the authenticity of our faith (v. 21a)?
We should shudder at the thought!