I have been chewing on an idea for a sermon series for a while, based on Ephesians 4:17. “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.” NIV (I say “chewing on” instead of “working on” because I do not at the moment have any preaching opportunities on the calendar)
Paul seems pretty adamant that there is a way we lived prior to coming to faith that we are obligated to stop, and that this way of living is characterized as “futile thinking”. An interesting term, a term made more interesting by looking it up in a Greek dictionary, where I learned it means “nothingness”, “useless” or “transitory”. Hmm. So Gentiles think about temporary things that amount to nothing, and we are supposed to be different. The remainder of Ephesians 4 lays out these differences, which may someday be the sermon series. Or a rather verbose series of Blog posts.
One result of all of this mastication is a greater awareness of how much “nothing” there is in the minds of people I converse with. So often things that matter so little end up mattering so much to so many people.
I think of conversations I have with young people about their future plans. Almost without exception their life goals focus on the accumulation of material wealth. We should be different, and markedly so. We should be focused on things that last, and no material thing endures.
It is worth noting that Paul would have told the Ephesians to avoid this type of thinking unless there was a significant chance that they might end up thinking that way! I am sure share the same tendency to wrong thought, and the same need to expend effort in thinking correctly.
A great question to ponder is, “How would my live be different if I truly thought of eternal and important things, if I saw the world as God does?”