Ephesians 4.17

Sometimes we read verses in our Bible that call us to no specific action. They are clearly part of a wider narrative and don’t demand that we do anything. Take Numbers 14.6 for example:

And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments.”


Not sure what to do with that? Neither am I.

There are other times, however, when we read a verse that brings together a few things previously read. There are sentences and summaries that really do call us to the clearest of actions. Ephesians 4.17 flows wonderfully out of 4.1-16 and tells us, simply, because of all we have been given this is what we need to do:

“So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.”


Because of all that Paul has written so far (so I say this) the clear and cogent command is to no longer live as the Gentiles do. The major maker of this is their futility of…thinking.

Thinking we are going to be just fine is futile.

Thinking we can navigate life’s trials and tribulations alone is futile.

Thinking that we have a wonderful afterlife into which to pass because culture tells us so is futile.

Believing that we are the pinnacle of existence will lead us to an idolatry of self and will, ultimately, lead us further and further away from God: the very thing that Paul is trying to address among the Ephesians.

Today then, separate yourself from those around you in thinking that you can achieve everything alone. Instead, see what God has given you (4.1-16) and accept these gracious gifts!

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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