According to Jeff Foxworthy’s Redneck Dictionary, the phrase “used to could” means something you were once able to do but no longer can. For me it would be, “I can’t do a cartwheel anymore, but I used to could.” The word “could” is used to indicate ability or permission in the past; “I could run faster when I was younger.” The word “would” is used to express desire or intent, or to express repeated or habitual action in the past. “I would run faster now, if I could.”

In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul told the believers how they “used to could” live. Humanity was created to be in intimate relationship with God. Sin destroyed that shalom, and humanity was separated from God and from shalom. This is the human condition: dead, living in “transgressions and sins” (two words that together have the same emphasis). In this human condition all people are dominated by:

-the “ways of the world” v2

-the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” v2

-and the “cravings of the flesh” v3

All three realities work to lure us away from God and hope in Jesus Christ.

The Greek word in v3 for flesh is “sarx” (It shows up as a prefix in medical terminology for certain conditions; sarcoma is a flesh (sarc) tumor (oma). New Testament writers used “sarx” in reference to our physical body and all its cravings, longings, urges, and desires. Some of which are good.

But Paul’s talking about YOLO (You Only Live Once). Well, maybe the ancient people didn’t have that acronym, but they sure understood “If it feels good, do it.” Many taught that the body and soul are separate so how one lives doesn’t matter because it has no effect on the soul. But Paul taught that we are whole beings, mind-body-soul-connected, and our fleshly cravings do indeed have spiritual implications.

“We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Ephesians 2:3 The Message

We need to understand the truth that humanity is in a HOPELESS condition, before we can grasp the truth of the HOPE that Jesus Christ offers! In Him, our used-to-could living is transformed by the mercy and grace of God as we live for Jesus!

Therefore, beloved sisters and brothers, ask the Holy Spirit to help YOLFJ.

Got that?

You Only Live For Jesus

I’m praying for you,

Pastor Deb