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Conversely, have you ever known someone for months and been shocked to discover she was a believer because of her actions, attitudes and language?
Ephesians 4:17-19 says people of the world:
1. Have their minds on worthless things.
2. Can't understand spiritual things.
3. Refuse to believe God out of ignorance and stubbornness.
4. Have no sense of shame.
5. Are sexually promiscuous.
6. Never get enough of sin.
When Christians do any of these six things, we hinder the spread of the Gospel. We quit being salt and light in our dark, decaying world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Today I'm asking God's help to "press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Will you join me so we can all "live up to what we have already attained" (Philippians 3:12-17)?
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1. Reword the phrase "take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" putting it in words that help you better understand the meaning. List the things Paul mentions to help achieve that goal.
Philippians 3:12-17: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.~17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
2. Note the specific characteristics of worldly people and compare the other Bible versions (linked below it) to get a fuller understanding of this passage. How does identifying these characteristics help us?
Ephesians 4:17-24: So I tell you and encourage you in the Lord’s name not to live any longer like other people in the world. Their minds are set on worthless things. 18 They can’t understand because they are in the dark. They are excluded from the life that God approves of because of their ignorance and stubbornness. 19 Since they no longer have any sense of shame, they have become promiscuous. They practice every kind of sexual perversion with a constant desire for more.~ 20 But that is not what you learned from Christ’s teachings. 21 You have certainly heard his message and have been taught his ways. The truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. 23 However, you were taught to have a new attitude. 24 You were also taught to become a new person created to be like God, truly righteous and holy. (God's Word Translation)
New International Version
New Living Translation
To see part 2 of this study and read insights for this Bible study, see "Work in Progress."
copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted