So I’ve got to be honest for a moment. I would prefer to not spend too much time looking in the mirror these days. Five kids and several years have led to more pounds, more stretch marks, and more wrinkles. I would much rather get dressed quickly, slap some make-up on, and move on with my day. Or at least get ready in dim lighting;) Put me in a department store dressing room? No. Thank. You.
So when I first read this passage in Ephesians. I thought “this is a contrast between those in darkness (apart from God) and those in the light (adopted through the saving grace of Christ), THANK GOODNESS I’m not like that anymore.” Shut my Bible and move on with my day. But then the light of God’s truth started shining up into a whole bunch of dark places and folks- it wasn’t pretty! Like being in a department store dressing room with some high beams on. Paul gives us a reality check. As it states in verse 11 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
Let’s REALLY look in the mirror. I love the way this passage is paraphrased in the Message:
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
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.
Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
All of these directives take us back to verse 1: BE IMITATORS OF CHRIST AS DEARLY LOVED CHILDREN
What precious, profound words.
Not 20 ways to make yourself a better person… Or 15 rules you must follow for God to love you… But as dearly loved children, we get the privilege of being with our loving, merciful Father…. And He will mold us to be more and more like Himself.
Wake up, O sleeper. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.- Ephesians 5:14b
Please expose those areas in my life that have remained in darkness for far too long. I want to wake up from the lull of sin and the mirage of prideful complacency. Keep me on the wise path and away from the foolish temptations of self- gratification. May the meditations of my heart and the words that I speak be those of praise and thanksgiving. May my one desire be to imitate the loving life of your son.
When God looks at me through the mirror of his amazing mercy, he doesn’t see all my sin and failures. He sees his perfect Son who lived the life I never could.
And that my friends, is glorious grace!
Questions to ponder:
1. What from this passage struck you as an area you need to become more like Christ?
2. How can you draw closer to Christ this week, “drinking from him”?
3. Is there something God is calling you to surrender so that you can spend more time learning a life of love from him?