A few years ago mantras were all the rage. Self-help gurus were coming out of the woodwork each promising a happier, healthier, and more productive life if only you looked in the mirror each morning and repeated a sappy one liner meant to motivate you. From the ever popular “I’m a winner; I’m worth it; I deserve it; I am smart; I am successful,” to the less popular “I’m beautiful on the inside and that’s what counts” countless souls shelled out good money to buy newly published books that simply regurgitated the ideas and mantras of a previously published book.
Seeing the wild success of the secular gurus the wolves among us also got in on the act, and since they had to one-up the other guys, it was no longer sufficient to look in a mirror and repeat a few words, we were supposed to look up to heaven and shout at the top of our lungs ‘money come to me now!’
Time seems to have told the tale, and people began to realize that just because they said ‘I’m a winner’ to their reflection it didn’t really make them one, and so the secular side of the mantra machine fizzled. It took somewhat longer for the ‘spiritual mantras’ to prove themselves void of substance, because although money never came from heaven when they called for it, credit was a good substitute, and when the credit line ran out, well there was always the equity in the house. ‘Blessings and prosperity, abundance and wealth,’ how the words rolled off the tongue, how the heart grew cold toward God, how Jesus was relegated to Easter and only then sparingly, until the day it all came crashing down, and the shiny new car got towed away, and the oversized mansion got seized, and the idols we worshiped were crushed into the earth by the reality that pressed down upon our heads.
Being one that enjoys the thrill of swimming against the tide, it is only now, after the notion of mantras has all but died that I’ve adopted a mantra of my own, and I would urge you, even beseech you to adopt the selfsame mantra in regards to the spiritual nourishment you receive, and allow to take root in your heart. Now before I start getting e-mails rebuking me for using the word ‘mantra’ I use it within the context of a statement that is frequently repeated, having nothing whatsoever to do with Hindu mysticism. Thought I’d make that clear since some people have the inane tendency to overreact. I only call it a mantra because I find myself repeating it frequently, and with each passing day the frequency seems to grow.
With that having been said, my mantra is this: ‘You have not so learned Christ!’
It is within the context of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that I rediscovered this magnificent verse some time ago, and it has both aided me and been a comfort to me, it has strengthened me, and often times even encouraged me to continue pressing ever onward toward Christ, continue walking the narrow path of faith, and I pray it does the same for you.
After Paul reminds the church in Ephesus that they should no longer walk as the gentiles walk, after He reaffirms the truth that their understanding is no longer darkened, and that they are no longer alienated from the life of God and as such should no longer give themselves over to licentiousness and the works of evil, Paul pens these seven magnificent words, ‘but you have not so learned Christ.’
The message he was attempting to convey to the church then, is as relevant and timely if not more so to the church of today, namely that even though there are those whose understanding is darkened, even though there are those who walk in ignorance, even though there are those who’ve had their hearts hardened and surrendered to sin, we have not so learned Christ.
I have preached many sermons on the end times, on the multitude of things that are about to descend upon the earth, and each time I preach such a message I am faithful in reminding all who would hear that the greatest danger for the believer will not be earthquakes, famines, wars or rumors of war, but rather the deception that will engulf the world.
In His prophetic utterance on the end times in Matthew 24, Jesus mentioned earthquakes once, he mentioned famines once, he mentioned pestilences once, but he mentioned the deceivers, the false prophets, and the false christs that would appear and attempt to deceive if possible even the elect, no less than four times within a twenty one verse discourse.
I realize discussing deception is not as exciting as discussing specific end times events that are about to unfold, but in my humble opinion, it is far more relevant, important and necessary to make certain that we are standing on the truth of God’s word, that we are following after the Christ of the Bible, rather than know the specificities of the next few years.
Many today forget that they have not so learned Christ, and so begin to drift away and follow after false christs.
‘But brother, it sounds so good, after all these years they found the loophole wherein holiness, righteousness, self-denial, self-renunciation, even the daily carrying of our crosses is no longer necessary.’
When you hear something like this, and the question is no longer if but when you will hear it, or other doctrines that are in direct conflict with the Word of God, our response shouldn’t be ‘tell me more, it sounds interesting,’ but rather, ‘I have not so learned Christ, therefore I’ve heard enough.’
From a purely Biblical point of view, taking into account the words of Jesus, as well as the warnings of Paul the Apostle concerning these last days, I am certain that the frequency with which we will repeat these seven words will multiply exponentially.
It doesn’t matter how good it sounds to the flesh, it doesn’t matter how much emotional sense it makes, if it is unscriptural, if we have not so learned Christ, then it is incumbent upon us to reject it no matter who the person speaking the newfangled teaching might be.
These seven words will save you much heartache in the months and years to come, and though others might embrace the wider path, though others might reject the notion of accountability toward God, or the sanctifying of oneself, remember, you have not so learned Christ!
Ephesians 4:17-24, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.