There’s nothing like riding an ATV through a field of tall grass. Before long, paths appear as the grass is trampled by the tires. A well-worn path eventually becomes an easy path to ride.
Life is directional. We’re all going somewhere. Even when we feel stagnant, something is changing.
What paths are being formed by the direction of your life?
In Ephesians, we see God’s grace in redirecting the paths of His people. And this transformation becomes even more clear as Paul begins chapter 2.
Addressing his brothers and sisters in Christ, he writes, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (vv. 1-3 ESV).
Being dead is the equivalent of being without Christ. And this is something we need to take seriously.
It’s easy for us to bypass spiritual death as irrelevant. When we think of death, we think of a corpse in a casket. All of us have looked upon the body of someone we love who is no longer with us. And while that’s an indication of physical death, it’s not necessarily an indication of spiritual death.
Elsewhere, the apostle Paul writes, “… We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8 ESV).
In another place, Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21 ESV).
Paul is not afraid of death because he understands death. He realizes that physical death is nothing compared to spiritual death.
So, in Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul reminds the believers of what it’s like to be dead. And we often need to be reminded of this, too.
Spiritual death is the result of sin. And this sin, apart from repentance, only grows. Paths begin to show. And a direction is established.
In verses 2 and 3, Paul highlights the pathway of death. Notice the well-worn trail. And see where it ends.
“[trespasses and sins] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (ESV).
It’s the pathway of death. Sin. Worldliness. Obedience to Satan. Disobedience to God. Lust of the flesh. And God’s wrath.
If you’re walking this path today, I pray you stop and ponder the direction of your life. I pray you find life in the arms of Christ.
And for those of us who do know Christ, how often do we forget what we’ve been saved from?
As difficult as it is, the worst kind of death is not physical. Even though we grieve the loss of those we love, we can also take heart.
“‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55-57 ESV).
As God’s people, we rest assured. No longer do we walk the pathway of death. In Christ, we find life and life more abundantly (see Jn. 10:10).