The Fight For Joy

In Ephesians 4:17-24, Paul is speaking about the Christian life, the life of faith. He tells us to “put off the old self, which belongs to your former manner of life, and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (v. 22-23). Why put off the old self? Verses 4:17-19 tells us that the practices of the old man: 1. darken our understanding, 2. alienate us from the life of God, and 3. make our hearts hard and callous. Simply put, the old-self rips the joy out of life. Its practices wage war against the soul by elevating the temporary over the eternal, the worldly over the godly. If we are to have lasting joy that is not just circumstantial, we must make war on the things that keep us from valuing Jesus above all. We must fight against the things (even the “good” things) that stand in the way of the treasure above all treasures! Just like the merchant that found a pearl of great value and sold everything he had to buy it, so we must also rid ourselves of all the pearls of lesser value in order to experience the superior pleasure that comes from the pearl of great value (Matt. 13:45-46). The fight of faith is a fight to keep Christ first. And, since man was created to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” the fight of faith is a fight for joy in God. Why put on the new self, righteousness and holiness? Because that’s how we learned Jesus (v. 21) and the truth is in Jesus (v. 21). The new self draws us ever closer to the image and likeness of Jesus our Lord, the Son of God, the ever-flowing, eternal fountain of joy. Fight for that joy!

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