The world tells us all kinds of things that we want to hear. A couple I’ve heard for most of my life are: “If it feels good, do it” and “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. Just to be crystal clear: these are not from the Lord, but instead from the father of lies, Satan. These aren’t new in our culture, much of the same was said in the days that Paul penned his letter to the church at Ephesus. Today as then, materialism, immorality, (ungodly) spiritualism, and greed are rampant. That’s how the pagans live; it is not a life conformed to the image of our Lord.
Just like the believers in Ephesus, we need the reminder from Paul that “you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart”. Since we no longer walk as the Gentiles do, how should we walk? “But now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Eph. 5:8).
Yesterday, we talked about walking in love, and being imitators of God. As imitators of God we are to turn away from immorality, impurity and greed. Nor are we to participate in filthiness, silly talk or coarse jesting (Eph. 5:3-4). The latter really struck me this morning because it is easy to seem like we belong when we participate in off-color (without filthy language) jokes, but this reminds me that we are to be set apart. Our speech should reflect a heart that has been changed and is full of thanksgiving and gratitude for all we have in Christ. We are not to be partakers in impurity at any level as imitators of God, nor let anyone deceive us with empty words or promises (vv 6-7). We must remember who we are in Christ: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).
All of what Paul is warning us away from is in the kingdom of darkness, which is Satan’s kingdom. We are no longer a part of it, and we must look different than those who belong to that kingdom. Paul says, “but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (v 8). When we walk with Jesus, He will light our way and we will be able to clearly see what is good and true and righteous, because He is “the Light of the World” (John 8:12), and our view is far-reaching as we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6-7).
What the Lord wants for us is “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19a). We are no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness, so we must stop sitting on the fence between the two kingdoms, because we can’t serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).
The Message paraphrase states it quite plainly: “You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.” (Eph 5:8-10) If we walk as children of light, we are seeking the truth the Lord has for us in the light. It is in the light that our sins are pointed out to us, so that we may turn away from them to what the Lord wants for us (Eph 5:13-14). Has the Lord revealed anything to you that you need to repent of and take off so that you can walk in the Light, which consists of “all goodness and righteousness and truth’ (v 9)?