Lord Jesus, on this Ash Wednesday, may I begin this Lenten season focused on Your sacrificial love for me.
Read Ephesians 5:1-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psa. 119:105). To walk in love we need to first walk in the light.
Paul continues the contrast between living with the world’s values, and living as Christians. Above all, we are to “live a life of love” (2). Our example is Christ and his sacrificial love for us. Our love, too, must be sacrificial if that is what it takes to avoid all the distractions and temptations outlined in vs. 3-6.
The contrast is between light and darkness. We are to be children of light (8-10), avoiding the shameless acts that some do in secret. Light is a very apt metaphor, for as we are told elsewhere, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Light uncovers hypocrisy and deceit. Light brings visibility, so there is nowhere to hide; what we do is seen by everyone for what it is. Light brings exposure, so things cannot be covered up or ignored (11-14). We are to welcome this, and not be afraid, because we have nothing to worry about if we live with integrity and truth. As children of God, we are called to walk in the light of his love.
Paul’s final concern is how we spend our time (15-17). The same transparency is to apply here. We are called to be wise in the way we use the days God gives us, not to be self-indulgent, but to allow the Holy Spirit to walk with us and remind us to praise God (18-20). It’s a test for all of us not to fritter time away, but to make the most of the hours we have. Today, let us be unafraid of living exposed lives before God. Let us ask God to help us not to waste our time, but to use it thoughtfully and to be a blessing to other people.
Are there things in your life which you are glad other people don’t know about? Bring them to God and ask him to cover them with his grace. Ask God to help you see how to best use your time, and then to make any needed changes.
Lord, direct my focus to the future and assure me the past is forgiven in Christ. As I walk in Your light, may I use my time wisely.
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