Ephesians 4:21-24 (New Living Translation)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Day by day—even moment by moment—we face the choice of living under heaven’s rule or the rule of the world.
When we choose to follow Christ, we receive a new nature and the indwelling Spirit as evidence that we belong to God. As he reshapes our hearts and resets our priorities and desires, we begin to feel at odds with our old, sinful nature. Still, our old nature persists and challenges our new desire to live according to God’s ways. We feel this tension between our two natures especially at our testing points, or our spiritual edges—those uncomfortable places where we long to follow Christ but also feel that strong pull for the things of this world.
To live on our spiritual edge means to live consciously and honestly, aware of our testing points and the spiritual significance of our choices. The Holy Spirit meets us at these edges, teaching and challenging and encouraging us. Some tests we face are quite simple while others are difficult and complicated, especially if they touch on our deepest fears, unfulfilled needs, or painful memories. Keep in mind, our sinful nature supports any decision that keeps us comfortable in a world that opposes God’s rule. Consequently, we may resist telling the truth if it means losing face or financial security; we may cling to resentment when a friend or relative abuses our trust; or we might make excuses for behaviors that hurt our relationships, instead of asking for forgiveness.
Despite the difficulty of these tests and the pain of failing them, we can be thankful for them because our spiritual edges are precisely where God is working to grow our faith and mature us into holy perfection. Each decision, big or small, that we make toward God and his kingdom adds cumulatively to our Christian character and solidifies our identity as one who belongs to God. Indeed, God promises that these decisions will endure and follow us into eternity as we make our forever home with him (Revelation 14:13).
FATHER, I acknowledge the spiritual edges in my life, those situations and relationships where I struggle and so often fail to live according to your ways. Help me to see these testing areas as evidence of your steadfast love for me and your desire to see me righteous and holy like Jesus. Thank you for sending the Counselor to advise and encourage me and to catch me when I stumble. Give me faith, dear Father, and the courage and wisdom to make even the smallest decisions count toward your glory and my eternal joy in your kingdom.
Colossians 3:10; Psalm 37:23-24
Name one area in your life where your sin nature pulls you away from God. Ask God for faith to desire his way more than the way of the world.