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Don’t Live Carelessly!

April 20, 2011

I remember {vaguely!} waking up  the first day of my senior year of high school and thinking May was forever away.  Thoughts of homecoming, senior pictures, prom, and graduation were merely exciting ideas that were yet to come.   I was looking forward to skipping class to go to the lake, being the “boss” of the high school, and enjoying the spontaneity of whatever the next 180 school days held.

My best friend and me at our 20th reunion in 2009.

Somehow, though, my careless attitude about the {very short} months ahead of me wasn’t always the wise course of action.   Decisions had to be made … college applications completed, acceptance letters received, scholarships sought, and I still had to go to class and work some to help offset the expenses of matriculating in 1989.

I have a letter my Daddy wrote me at the beginning of my senior  year:

The days of you living in our home are drawing rapidly to an end.  There never seems to be time enough to tell you all I want you to know.  I love you and I am proud of who you are becoming.  … Know this, there will always be opportunity for poor choices and careless decisions.  But the consequences for those types of things last long after the fun “in the moment” has passed.   My hope is that your life is full of experiences and opportunities you cannot begin to imagine right now.   But more than anything, I pray you live in close communion with Christ.

That’s a wise Daddy, huh?  I’m thankful for him and for my mom who have weathered many storms in my life and watched as I lived carelessly and faced the consequences of those choices.   Because I hear my Daddy’s voice even as I re-read his words written over twenty years ago, I think I hear Paul’s tone as he is writing to the believers at Ephesus:

And so I insist – and God backs me up on this – that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. … Watch your step.  Use your head.  Make the most of every chance you get.  These are desperate times!  Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly.  Make sure you understand what the Master wants.  {Ephesians 4:17, 5:17 MSG emphasis added}

Paul, as their spiritual father, longs for them to live in the fullness of God’s plan for their lives.   He gives them counsel about looking like Christ.   Today, we’re going to look at what we must leave behind, put away, as we pursue the imitation of Christ.

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.  Ephesians 4:22 ESV

What are these characteristics of the old self?

Foolish speech … Paul admonishes against lying (4:25), words spoken in anger (4:26), corrupting talk (4:29) and filthy talk,  crude joking (5:4)

Covetous hearts … Strong warning is offered against not just sexual impurity but also about idolatry (5:3) and even thievery which desires what someone else has (4:28).

Bitter attitudes … Specific mention is given to bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander (4:31) – all of which begin in our hearts and manifest in our attitude and treatment of others.

Personal excess … In 5:18, Paul cautions against drunkenness and debauchery.   We must be mindful against the temptation of excess in all areas of our life.

Why must we put off these flesh-clothes?

And give no opportunity to the devil.  Ephesians 4:27 ESV

Remember, our enemy prowls about like a lion seeking that which he can devour (1 Peter 5:8)… we need to remove the bait from our hearts and minds and lifestyles.  We must not live carelessly!

Tomorrow, we’ll take some time to explore what we are to “put on” as we seek to become more like Christ.

How have you seen the effects of living carelessly in your life or in the lives of those you love?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2011 9:52 am

    Thanks for these words of wisdom today. Yes, I’ve seen the effects of careless living both in my life and in the lives of those I love. Even after we get back on track with God, the consequences still linger. Far better to live wisely and obey God fully!

  2. Julie Sanders permalink
    April 20, 2011 1:43 pm

    It says so much that God takes time to tell us what to “put off” before we begin to “put on,” and it seems like it’s a lifetime process of yielding to Him by staying in the state of “putting off.” What a beautiful letter from your earthly Daddy!

  3. April 20, 2011 3:38 pm

    Wow, you hit the nail on the head. I lived such a careless, destructive, selfish life when I was younger but am daily amazed at how much grace my Father has poured on me. To live a life now that reveals that grace and try to lead my own kids closer to Him, that is my journey and calling. Great post, Teri Lynne!

  4. April 20, 2011 4:16 pm

    I’m praising that we have a God who creates us new and cleans our hearts so that we can put on Christ. I love how your “Walk Worthy” post supports this post as well.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post, too!

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