Thursday, June 8, 2017
Ephesians 4:20 That is not the way you learned Christ!
The Apostle Paul doesn’t say that the people had learned “about” Christ, but that they had “learned” Christ. There is a distinct difference as one may study a subject to gain knowledge, or someone can practice a subject so that it becomes a part of who they are. We don’t just study medicine — we practice medicine. The same is true about learning Christ. The challenge here is to know Christ and everything that he embodies. When one gets to know Christ in this way, there is no possibility of deception by the enemy. The people of the world were living out of the hardness of their hearts. The Ephesian believers were to have learned Christ in such a way that he was embodied in their hearts and lives. Therefore they were to be completely and totally renewed, living in righteousness and holiness.
It’s much easer to learn about something, than to really “learn” something. There have been times when I have tackled my Bible reading as if it were a box to tick off in the morning. When I finish that project I can move on to the next thing! The problem is that I may have learned about the scriptures, but I didn’t really learn them. To spend time in the scriptures means that I slow down long enough to contemplate the living Word — Jesus Christ. The scriptures become a pathway to get to know the heart of God. This is what it means to truly learn Christ.
Interestingly the way in which Paul says this, intimates that the Christian community had adopted practices of discipleship that would help the whole body truly learn Christ. This means that there must have been intentional discipleship from the time of childhood through all of adulthood.
The way that we truly “learn” Christ is to teach this kind of understanding of the Messiah from one generation to the next. Only in this way are we able to say to the world that we will not be like them. Not only will we say it, we will have no desire to participate in the activities of darkness. When we truly learn Christ — we put on Christ and become more and more like him. His desires are our desires and we wouldn’t even want to go into those places were we lose all of our sensitivity and “abandon” ourselves “to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” No — that is not the way that we have learned Christ.
Learning Christ takes intentional discipleship and discipline. Being clothed in Christ leads us to a life that is radically different from the world — but that’s the point. We can’t succumb to the things of the world when we are in Christ. Learning Christ truly means that we are in Christ.
Lord, may there continually be opportunities to know and serve you faithfully as I am privileged to learn you more every day. Amen.