In February I went to Manasota Key in Florida for a week. One night for sunset we hiked into Stump Pass Beach State Park. It was a lovely sunset, as they are on the Gulf side, and the photo ops of the stumps at sunset were a big draw.
This photo came to mind as I reflected on the second part of Ephesians 4.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:17-24, NIV)
This forest used to be in a safe place, on dry land, where it could thrive, but slowly the island changed shape, the tides changed, and it ended up in a place where it couldn’t live.
It made me think about how I can be in a place that seems good. It may be a place I have been in the past and it was fine. However, it is not longer where I need to be. If I don’t follow the leading of the Spirit, my heart can harden, and the tides of life, culture, bad habits, impurity, greed, and selfishness can overtake me, causing death.
How can we live in truth and follow the Spirit so that we can stay in God’s will for our lives? What do we need to give up? What needs to change? What do we need to put off and what do we need to put on?