As a disciple of Jesus have you ever thought about sharing with the needy because we should be doing just that. In Ephesians chapter 4 verses 17-32 the apostle Paul talks about the new life in Christ compared to their former life.
As I read this section there are many things that just stick out at me. In verse 20 the author tells us that we can no longer live as the Gentiles do. When he say Gentiles he is referring to those who do not know Jesus as their Savior. We are told that living as a Gentile is not what it means to have learned Christ!
I love the phrase, “but this is not the way, you have learned Christ.” You see, as a disciple I have learned Christ, and the only way I can please Jesus is to live what he has taught me. To live not as my former self, but as the person he has now created me to be.
In verses 22 and 23 we are told to put off your old self and to put on your new self which is created after the likeness of God. Think about how the new you has been created after the likeness of God.
The word likeness means to be God-like. As we put on Christ, he will raise us up, teaching us His ways, nature, and character. So that over time, we will be transformed into His likeness. We call this process sanctification, and it is a process in which we work at putting on our new self daily. Setting our hearts and minds on him. It is in this process that we join with God in the work of becoming more and more like him. We are not the author of this work but are participants in it, submitting our will to the will of Christ, as we submit to him, he makes us more and more like him.
In verse 25 we are told after putting away falsehood, to speak truth with our neighbor. I often find that as disciples we have to speak truth. The world needs the disciples of Jesus to be people they can look to for truth. But we also must speak the truth in love, and as a disciple we cannot fall into the belief that truth without love is ever acceptable. We must be like Christ in how we speak truth, which he always did in a way that never compromised either the truth or a heart of love.
And finally in verse 32 we are told to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave us. Have you ever thought about, how much God in Christ has forgiven you? The command seems too great, but it is what we who have learned Christ have been called too.
So as I thought about being a disciple who has learned Christ, I realized that the call is an awesome and intense call. Jesus will not be ok with half hearted effort, and will not be ok with with his disciples being unloving. So learn Christ with all your heart; making every effort to put on your new self and live out what it means to be his disciple in front of a watching world.