Scripture: Ephesians 5:1-20
Observation: Paul encourages the Ephesians to imitate God and live a life full of light. He defines what it means to live in the light of the Lord and protect ourselves from the darkness.
Application: Have you ever met someone who lights up a room? Someone who’s confident, secure, and easygoing, someone who commands attention without trying? They’re not always the smartest people, the most attractive people, the most humorous people – but there’s just something about them that we’re naturally drawn to. We’re always listening to what they say, laughing at their jokes, and engaging them in conversation. If they’re in a room, the atmosphere is brighter.
They’re filled with light.
Light brightens, awakens, restores. God is light. Here’s how Paul puts in verses 1-2:
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”
Paul uses that word everything very specifically; he shows us that there aren’t parts of our lives that are immune to imitating God. We have to submit everything to God to live in the light.
While I love reading about imitating God and being filled with light, it’s the next couple of verses that are harder to swallow. They’re the verses that challenge me, make me lean in, cause me to face my own shortcomings I try to sweep under the rug. He tells us:
- Stay away from sexual immorality, impurity, or greed. (What parts of me are impure? What parts of my life am I clinging onto too tightly?)
- Stay away from obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes. (What comedians, side conversations, and water cooler jokes are you supposed to leave behind?)
- Don’t be fooled by people who try to excuse these as sins. (What “valid” excuses are you using as a crutch to excuse a sin rather than face it?)
- Don’t take part in worthless, evil deeds; instead, expose them. (It’s not enough just to avoid these things; you have a responsibility to expose them. Are you speaking up against evil? Or are you assuming that simply not participating is enough?)
Living in the light comes with a price. The price is dying to self. The price is walking away from things our culture has deemed acceptable. The price is speaking up against evil, even when it’s unpopular. The price is submission.
But, the price is far worth it because when we do, Christ will give you light. He’ll fill you, sustain you, and awaken you to a life that’s far better than anything you could create on your own.
Live in the light.
Prayer: God, living in the light can be difficult. It requires letting go of so much self and embracing so much of you and your nature instead. I pray for the confidence to live in the light, to face whatever part of me is hidden in the darkness. Amen.