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Minimizing Self

The essence of transformation is that who we are and what we do is 180 degrees from who we were. To follow Christ means that we are living our lives in a completely different way and for a completely different purpose. The Apostle Paul insists that we are “made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24).

This transformational change affects every one of the multiple areas of our life. One area that I have been chewing on over the past few days is in the area of ‘feelings and affections,’ specifically where we are directing them to.

Ephesians 4:19 reads, describing people who are far from God in the midst of a city that has built altars to sensuous gods,

“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality.”

Sensitivity is good. It considers the need of others; it empathizes, has compassion, puts others first, and cares. It feels for others. It is Godly. Part of our transformed nature is to be sensitive… to listen, love, laugh, hurt, care, and tender. Sensitivity is our ability to respond with empathy to external factors.

Paul claims that the unbelieving Ephesians are on the road to apathy, which hardens their hearts and leads them to a place of being ‘beyond feeling.'

This void, left by a muted sensitivity, is filled by sensuality. Sensuality means to ‘selfishly indulge’… wanting to maximize and stimulate our personal senses for a quick high. When we seek sensuality, we are selfish, and doing so, Paul says, only leads to impurity and lust. Sensuality is selfish, has 'me' at the center of it, and is such a drug that we are prepared to sacrifice some much for it. Sensuality pits short-term high against long terms gains.

Sensuality and Sensitivity are at two opposing ends of the same spectrum. Life in the world pulls us toward sensuality; life with Jesus pulls us toward sensitivity. The follower of Christ must lean towards the sensitivity that puts others first.

It is worth considering whether we are leaning toward sensitivity or sensuality. Some questions that could help us determine where we are would include the following;

- Who do I care for more? Myself (sensuality) or others (sensitivity)?
- What am I looking for most? Short terms high (sensuality) or long-term gain sensitivity)
- To whom do I live my life? Myself (sensuality) or Christ (sensitivity)?

Choose sensitivity.

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