This Sunday we looked at Ephesians 4:17-24, where Paul encourages Christians to "put away [the] old self" and to "clothe [themselves] with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." As I said briefly in the sermon, part of the "old self" that Christians need to take off are the "customs, practices, values, and attitudes" that they have adopted from the world around them. Many of our assumptions about the "good life" (in other words, what we believe is good, real, important, beautiful, and true) resemble the lies of the world more than the truth in Christ.
Unfortunately, the problem with lies is - they are deceitful. They don't present themselves as malicious little devils that we can easily detect and resist. Rather, they appear to us as sensible and wise ways of living. To see the lies for what they really are, we need renewed minds. Paul says in Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. It takes the renewal of our minds - minds "renewed" by the truth of God - to transform our sense of the "good life."
How do we renew our minds? A lot of different ways! The primary way is to read, study, memorize, wrestle with, and be challenged by the Bible. (This is the primary source of God's truth, of course.) But we should also carefully consider the claims of theologians, philosophers, novelists, artists, and even our neighbors and coworkers. Paul says earlier in Romans (1:20) that although creation is in a fallen state, it is nevertheless embedded with remnants of God's truth and wisdom. So yes, all people are capable of making true and wise claims, even if they don't recognize God as the source of that truth and wisdom.
One theologian who provokes my earnest consideration of truth and wisdom is Timothy Keller. I don't always agree with his claims, but I have found the video below to be wise and refreshing. It's less than 20 mins long and is a fitting companion for the sermon yesterday. Enjoy!
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I've been feeling the need lately to share those extra thoughts that don't make it into Sunday's sermon. So this is where they'll end up!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)