Let the Spirit change your way of thinking Ephesians 4:23 (CEV)Observation: 4:17–32
The first half of Ephesians emphasizes Christian doctrine or teaching, especially God’s creation of the church as the community of the redeemed (1:1–3:21). In the last half, Paul turns more directly to Christian behavior, giving instructions to the church in the world (4:1–6:24). He has already contrasted the lives of his readers before they became Christians with their lives after they believed (2:1–10, 11–13). In 4:17–32, he contrasts a Gentile pattern of life (which they would have followed earlier, vv. 17–19, 22), with the Christ-inspired pattern (vv. 20–21, 23–32). People who are watching believers should be able to tell that they have “learned Christ” (v. 20). Paul’s counsel suggests that this does not happen instantly but that we believers are to continue to be “taught by Him” (v. 21). [Andrews Study Bible Notes. 2010 (J. L. Dybdahl, Ed.) (1547–1548). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.]Application:
Sometimes we have low emotional experiences in our lives which we immediately describe as depression when it may be situational sadness (for instance after the death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc.) Depression, on the other hand, is a powerfully negative mood that interferes with your daily life. When you are depressed, you are sad, despondent, disinterested, lethargic, you feel hopeless or helpless, you may cry all the time or feel as if you absolutely cannot get out of bed in the morning. One of the concerns is that depression affects your body as well as your mind. You may eat less or you may eat more, but less often. You may feel at night as if you are starting to come out of it, only to wake up in the morning feeling even worse. Depression may be the result of an adversity in your life or it may seem to have just appeared on its own, or due to a change of seasons or a change of lifestyle or for no apparent reason at all.
Depression can be a life-threatening problem and may even lead a person to feel suicidal For many people suffering from depression the easy way out is through medication. While some medication may indeed be helpful, the side effects and the addictive effect are not desirable outcomes. Other, healthier approaches can be more beneficial in the long run. The good news is that as serious as it may be, depression is a state of mind and body that can be changed through a combination of things such a change in nutrition and activity, intake of vitamins, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and of course the help of God. CBT focuses on eliminating self-defeating behavior, replacing negative thinking patterns and self-talk with realistic beliefs about oneself and the world. CBT is the only form of psychotherapy that has been scientifically proven to work better than a placebo in treating major depression. 9For more information on healthy treatment for depression visit https://www.nedleyhealthsolutions.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=54)
Today’s text reminds us that with the help of the Holy Spirit we can change any thinking pattern that hurts us individually or asa couple or family. We don’t have to defeat ourselves with negative thinking patterns but with His help we can established positive, healthy thoughts which lead to healthier behavior.A Prayer You May Say:
Father God, may your holy Spirit help us change the negative thoughts that defeat us even when we have good intentions and desires, and may He plant good, positive thoughts that help us win victories every day in our lives, marriages, and families.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.