Darkness and Light
Loving Lord, the depth of Your love is incomparable, Your sacrifice on the Cross is incomprehensible. How great You are.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Christian living has several “don’ts” and even more “dos” and is at its very best when believers worship thankfully before the world.
I recall flying across some time zones and being instructed to close the window blinds so that we could sleep because we were actually flying into glorious dawn. In a darkened cabin, with flickering TV monitors and pinpricks of reading lights, most of us tried to sleep. At any time we could have thrown up the blinds and let the sunlight in—but we didn’t. In these verses the metaphor contrasting darkness with light is tragic. It is as though the whole journey of life continues in the dark and the blinds never go up!
Living in the dark comes so naturally that people think that is how we are meant to live. There are more negative characteristics than positive in Paul’s list, but see how common they are in current culture. Sexual immorality and impurity are sadly all too prevalent, as are obscenities and bad jokes. As I write, news headlines have been full of sex crimes. So much ugliness remains hidden in the dark (11). This is a deeply distressing picture of a society that has lost its way and needs the light.
Paul challenges believers that although once they were in darkness, now as children of light they have the demanding role of living Christ-like lives. This light lifestyle is so dramatically different that it confronts the darkness of the world, like throwing up the blinds so that people see what life is really like (14). Not only does Christian living avoid the negatives of darkness and demonstrate the positives of light but, vitally, Christians give their best to gathered worship. We are not sure exactly what differences existed between psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (19), but when the world sees people worshipping together there should be no doubt that there is a better way to live with God.
As you look at the life you lived before Christ to the life you live today, where do see the greatest change?
“Eternal Light, purify my soul from all impure imaginations that Your most beautiful and holy image may again be renewed within me” (Robert Leighton, 1611–1684). I offer my Amen to this prayer.