Modified Paganism

“You must no longer live as the pagans do.” —Ephesians 4:17

Paul started the Ephesian church by leading twelve men to Christ and to new life in the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5-7). A few years later, Paul observed that the Ephesians had lost their early love for Christ (cf Rv 2:4). Paul likely could tell this because the lifestyle of the Ephesian Christians had become merely modified paganism. Paul maintained that when the Ephesians “learned Christ” (Eph 4:20), they should have learned a new lifestyle by laying aside their former way of life (Eph 4:22) and acquiring “a fresh, spiritual way of thinking” (Eph 4:23). Paul assumed that commitment to Christ entailed a radical change of lifestyle.Many Christians today can relate to the Ephesians. It’s common for Christians to buy the same things, watch the same programs, have the same recreation, and make the same investments as “good” non-believers. Many Christians avoid the grosser aspects of a pagan lifestyle. Nevertheless, their lifestyle is more appropriately described as “modified pagan” rather than “radically Christian.” We must repent, be crucified to the world (Gal 6:14), and count “all else rubbish so that Christ may be [our] Wealth” (Phil 3:8).

PRAYER: Father, may my lifestyle make no sense apart from Jesus’ lordship and divinity.

PROMISE: “You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you.” —Jn 6:27

PRAISE: Risen Jesus, I earnestly want to follow You. “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps 27:13).

(From a reflection by Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries

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