Transformational living begins with believing that we are created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness! Not a shadow, reflection, or a copy but the “true” righteousness and holiness that can come only for God (Ephesians 4:20-23).
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
THE NEW YOU
The Spirit of God renews us. Renewed implies that we are new once again. Not retooled, refashioned, or cleaned up. WE ARE NEW. The new you is righteous and holy, characterized by being truthful, passionate, purposed, and encouraging.
Truthfulness is difficult for many of us, but the family can be one of the few places that it comes naturally. There is a bond among families that automatically fosters forgiveness, openness, loyalty, and support. If the Church is the family of God then we should speak to one another as if we are family. Speaking the truth through our actions, thoughts, and feelings (Ephesians 4:25).
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Anger submitted to God grows into a deep passionate pursuit of God’s righteousness and holiness. This type of anger is considered a controlled burn - steadily advancing the kingdom of God. On the other hand, anger that lifts up our own passions is a raging fire that grows quickly and burns out fast. The former requires God’s strength; the latter is reckless and void of God. We should use our anger to fuel our passion to advance the kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:26-27).
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Each person has at least one thing they are good at, one purpose. We are capable of doing amazing things with the talents we have. The question is, are our talents serving our purposes or the purposes of God? If our talents serve us they are momentary - self gratifying; if they serve God they are eternal - focused on serving others. How are your talents revealing your purpose? Who’s purpose do your talents reveal? (Ephesians 4:28)
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
It’s a tall order to be asked to stop the negative talk and to be encouraging. Our mouth is filled with words that tear down our families, friends, and even our self. God has given us unspeakable joy through Christ who fills us with the grace of God. Our words should be filled with His grace, leaving no room for anything less than encouragement. This will allow us to speak life into others. (Ephesians 4:29)
29 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.
There is a struggle associated with transformational living. Many of us never reach a point in our lives where we truly believe God when he says, “You are mine, and I love you!” We are stuck believing that we’ve never changed and we’re not worth it.
Who we were is dying, but we constantly try to resurrect it from the dead. It’s time we let it die, and begin living transformed lives. Let the bitterness, anger, slander, and malice be replaced with kindness, tender hearts, and forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:30-32)
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4, ESV)