In re-hashing my reading in By His Wounds You Are Healed by Wendy Alsup (there is a discussion group currently going on via Facebook), I was brought to think again about this phrase “futility of the mind” in Eph. 4. Wendy mentions that in her studies she has found this word futility “indicates something that is devoid of truth and useless, without purpose, success, or results.” With that in mind, consider this passage in its context:
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,  which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
“Futility of mind”–this was/is worthy of some focused thinking (aka meditation)! Paul says elsewhere “what fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?” Duh, Diane. Leave it. Move forward. Don’t look behind in this race…slows you down. Makes you run into things. Duh.
That’s Romans 6, by the way. We are familiar with where the chapter is heading…we use v. 23 “all the time.” But have you ever considered the context? Often we don’t, when it is familiar turf. Here it is:
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ever found that it is some of the most obvious things that it takes the longest to “get”? God wants us to live. Not only eternally, some day…but now. Live. By His grace, shake off death and its effects, and live!