Ephesians 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
This is an important statement, but Paul had to illustrate it in the middle of saying it because otherwise it would seem so theoretical as to be meaningless. We don’t necessarily go around thinking about whether something is light or dark unless there are actual lumens involved. Paul is talking about a fundamental shift of nature here, and we often have trouble either believing it has happened or grasping what it means. This is actually a further restatement and refinement of what he discussed in Romans 6 about being “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11) Jesus and many others in the Bible associated light and life, so this passage is in no way out of the mainstream of God’s revelation. However, as I said, we don’t generally go around thinking in these terms. That’s why Paul stuck verse 9 in there, explaining the characteristics of a life lived in the light. We don’t understand it all, so it’s important to get the help of the Holy Spirit to know and do what pleases God, what is really a manifestation of the light of the life of Christ within us. If we will do that, we will discover the peace, joy, and satisfaction that everyone seeks, but many plunge into darkness in that pursuit.
Of course I’m talking to myself here. I wish every facet of my life were light, but I’m not there yet. It’s comforting to know that Paul never “arrived,” either! (Philippians 3:12-14) As a pastor, I find that many people are confused as to what is light and what is not. As Paul said, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) I am to seek God consistently myself, for my own sake and as an example to others. A song of a few dozen years ago, Children of the Day, expresses that fairly well, but the irony is that the group that sang it fell apart after being deceived by the devil. I am never to think that knowing the facts is sufficient; I’ve got to live them out. (James 1:22) This seems to be a very common issue for leaders/teachers in the Church. Somehow we think or feel that because we are leaders, that exempts us from the things we are teaching, when it doesn’t at all. It’s just like politicians being notorious for thinking they don’t have to follow the rules and laws they create. That’s not the case at all. As James said, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) I have no excuse for any darkness in my life.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You know my weaknesses better than I do! Help me walk in full humility and live out the truth You have placed in me, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!