Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
(Ephesians 5:7-10 ESV)
Its interesting that those of us who are God’s children are light (as we learned yesterday), yet God still commands us to walk as children of light. Just because we are something doesn’t mean we act accordingly.
Recently Prince William and his wife, Kate, welcomed a new baby. That child is royalty. But that does not mean that he will always act in a way that is appropriate for a member of royalty to behave. As he grows up he will be tempted to do things that royalty does not do. He will have to be reminded at times to act in accordance with his status in life. The same is true for children of God.
God has changed us from being darkness to being light. We are light. There is no question about that [Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:5]. But we have to learn to live as light. The Christian life is one of surrendering our old selves and becoming our new selves [Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17]. It is an intentional process of forming new habits. And sometimes God has to remind us of this.
When we live as the light we demonstrate certain characteristics, called fruit in this verse and elsewhere in the Bible. Here we are told that God’s children should be characterized by being good, right, and true. These words are very interesting. They identify how we relate to others, God, and ourselves, respectively.
By looking at the original Greek text we can understand the meaning of each of these three words. The life of a good person makes a positive difference in the lives of others. They add value. Someone who is right has a positive relationship with God. Such a person is open with God and does not hide their sins, or fears, or anger from God. Finally, someone who is true is honest with him/herself. They don’t lie to themselves in an effort to convince themselves they are something they are not. Specifically, this verse refers to being honest with oneself about all the things God tells us, both the negative (we are sinners) and the positive (we are forgiven).
Living like this does not come naturally. When we were darkness we were defined by just the opposite behavior – the same as are those who are still darkness. Once we are saved God did not wave a magic wand over us so that we live as light all the time. We have to try to live this way by discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.
The Christian life is is a life marked by intentionality in which we purposely learn about God (through the Bible, prayer, sermons, etc) and then live our lives according to what we learn. This is the kind of life that pleases God.
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