Lighten Our Darkness
Lord, may the light of Your Word reveal in me any darkness in my heart. Give me strength to live as a child of light.
Read Ephesians 5:1–20
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you think love is defined in your culture?
In its own way, Ephesian culture was probably similar to what we see in pop culture. Love and lust are very easily confused, and with disastrous consequences. The key to understanding this whole chapter is in verse 2, where true love is defined: it is the self-giving, sacrificial love of Christ.
Human sexual desires are one of our strongest appetites. As we read these words in verses 3–7 we need to bear in mind all that Paul has said earlier in the letter about the power of God at work within us (1:19; 3:16). We know that we cannot live in a way that pleases God without his help to do so. This, too, is part of the good news of the Gospel!
The behavior Paul promotes is light rather than darkness. It is wise rather than foolish. It is prompted by the Spirit, not drugs or alcohol. It makes sense for healthy living, both for individuals and for communities.
One of the saddest facts of recent times is how members of the church have been caught up in sexual offences. The church of Jesus Christ has been brought into disrepute. We all bear the shame, and we should note what God is saying to us in this passage.
Thousands live in the darkness of human-trafficking. How can we bring light and love to those affected?
Father, so many are lost in the darkness of our sin-sick world. Show me how I can share Your light with others.
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