“And you being dead in your trespasses and sins, in which at one time you walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit of the one now working in the sons of disobedience. In them also we all lived at one time in the lusts, longings and desires of our human nature, indulging the wishes and desires of the fleshly condition and of the senses, and we were being (imperfect) children of wrath by nature, even as the others” (Ephesians 2:1-3 – paraphrased).
Trespasses – paraptoma – means literally a “falling beside” and denotes a deviation from truth and righteousness. It is used also in Hebrews 6:6 and is translated as “falling away”. It can be contrasted with the Greek apostasia as in Hebrews 3:12, which is more of a defection or revolt, whereas, paraptoma is more of a false step that results in lapsing into unrighteousness.
The “course of this world” means the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, the world culture that is opposed to God. It is the worldview that is owned by Satan, the ruler of this world, and that is working in the sons of “disobedience”, or apeitheias in Greek (from which comes the English “apathy”), those who are God’s people but through apathy, indifference, mental indolence or inability to be stirred in the spirit are prone to disobey the Living God.
That condition is the natural condition of man, the human nature, and in such condition we are children of wrath, that is, earning the wrath of God. In that human nature, we are disposed to indulge our fleshly, natural impulses, allow our vain imaginings to have the run of our thoughts and give our soul life over to the government of our flesh and fleshly nature. It was this condition that led to the fall and resulted in the human nature being disposed to covetousness, self-centredness, disobedience to God, impulsiveness and the invention of false gods to which we may offer worship and sacrifices but who will not demand our obedience.
To combat this natural tendency in man towards the indulgence of the fleshly nature, we are told to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to “take care that no-one will be making a captive of you through human wisdom and senseless deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
In other words, let your spirit direct the thoughts and intentions of your heart and mind. Discipline the mind and call home random thoughts that lead you away from the presence of God.