Ephesians 4:17-18 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesians to no longer walk the walk of futility that the world offers. What kind of walk is this? How are we to understand? What is the “Gentile walk”?
It is the walk of hopelessness, the walk of despair,
the walk of the world… the walk of “what’s the use?”.
Take a walk with me.
It’s midnight, no moon and its pitch black. Let’s walk out the front door of the house and allow me to put a blindfold on you. Put your hands behind your back while I handcuff them.
Now forgive me, you’ll feel a little stick in your arm as I inject you with a very toxic poison. I have instructions on how you can save yourself, but you won’t understand them because they are in a language you don’t know.
Now start walking. You can’t see. You know you’re dying. You don’t know what direction to go, but in despair you start fumbling ahead, calling out and frantically seeking any hope for your situation.
That is the walk of futility. That is the walk of the sin corrupted world, groping about in the dark, helpless and hopeless and lost but desperately searching for anything to dull the pain and despair. That is the walk of the Gentiles.
The wisest man who ever lived (besides Jesus) tells us in brutal honesty about the reality of life apart from God. King Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes to expose the lie that happiness can be found apart from God.
Happiness can’t be found in wealth.
Happiness can’t be found in power.
Happiness can’t be found in pleasure.
There’s nothing you can do about it. The futility of life is true no matter how much you would like to ignore it, or disbelieve it. Life without God is like walking blindfolded, handcuffed and poisoned with no clue as to what can help even while you examine anything and everything as a possible solution.
Pursuing happiness from the world will alienate you from God. Everything about this sin-saturated world is counter to the holiness of God. Notice the power and brutal truth of Paul’s words:
Don’t walk like the world who have no hope; who don’t truly understand anything about life; who live totally estranged from God because of how ignorant they are; and are blind in all ways to the truth.
So if all that is true, why do Christians still “walk like the Gentiles” to such a great degree? Why do we look like the world, talk the world, act like the world, want what the world wants and live like world… all the while claiming to NOT be worldly (walking like Gentiles)?
- Are Paul’s words unclear? “Without hope; no understanding”… is that somehow vague?
- Do we simply not believe what he said? “Estranged from God; ignorant; blind”… was Paul wrong?
Could it be that we love the world too much? Maybe we don’t grasp the true nature of sin. Are we worldly because we spend more time pursuing it than God?
It seems to be an insanely simple choice: futility, ignorance, blindness, despair and punishment OR salvation, holiness, righteousness, blessing, joy, peace, love and eternal life.
And yet, we regularly choose the “walk of the Gentiles”. Go figure.
God in Heaven, help us to walk Your walk and not the world’s. Illumine our hearts with Your truth and dispel the darkness of futility. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: How’s your walk? Do you often feel discouraged and struggle with a lack of hope? Are you easily recognizable as different from those who make no claim to follow God?
Application: Discouragement, despair, hopelessness and joylessness are signs of a Gentile walk. Christians should be different from the rest of the world in all ways, not just in some vocabulary.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?