Today’s Scripture is: Ephesians 5: 1-8New International Version (NIV)
5 1 Follow God’s example,(A) therefore, as dearly loved children(B) 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us(C) and gave himself up for us(D) as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.(E)
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,(F) or of any kind of impurity, or of greed,(G) because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk(H) or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.(I) 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater(J)—has any inheritance(K) in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a](L) 6 Let no one deceive you(M) with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath(N) comes on those who are disobedient.(O) 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
On Sunday, Pastor talked about living a “contrast” life so people will see a difference in us. This really stuck. I think it’s true that in most outward areas of our lives, people far from God don’t see a difference in our behavior compared to worldly behavior. Divorce rate among Christians is high, many times the language we use is inappropriate, we get caught lying and cheating just like everyone else, we don’t always handle situations with Godly integrity, and we can be seen as judgmental or intolerant because of our beliefs. So if we have a hard time reflecting Jesus in our behavior, how do we show people the light of Jesus and help them see that a life with Him is something to desire and something that will make a difference in their own lives?
Verses 3-7 above list some of the things that disappoint God in regards to our behavior. The very things mentioned in these verses are things we have all done at some point in time - even as a Christian. So when I first read this I had somewhat of a hopeless feeling. A feeling like I can never measure up and never truly be a light for Him. But I read it again from a “love” perspective - trusting God’s love for me - and saw these as warnings... things to stay away from...things to be aware of... God’s way of saying, “You will deal with all of these things at some point, but don’t partner with them, and overcome them”.
So, what if the difference maker here is the “overcoming” part? What if when we make a mistake like a course joke, bad language, or impure words or actions - we recognize that sin, we apologize to those around us, and we make a diligent effort with God’s help to overcome those temptations and actions and we let them see our realness. What if THAT is what makes us different to those far from God. Not the perfection, but the honesty and authenticity of imperfection, and the grace and forgiveness and strength from God to overcome it, grow from it, and change it? I believe that is what makes us different and reflects the Light of Jesus.
Verse 2 says to walk in the way of love. Could it be, if in our everyday lives, we treat others with love and respect, and with authenticity admit our failures - we would look different and attractive to this broken world? Although our behavior may be an initial judgment on us from a non-Christian perspective, Jesus’ light will be seen through our desire to be more like Him - through our change - through our treatment of people - and through our openness as we let them see into our lives.
The last verse says that we are now light in the Lord and to live as children of light. If we are Jesus followers, that light already lives in us... so it will be seen if we are open and authentic.
Lord, help me to walk in the way of Love. Help me to see every situation through your eyes and to treat everyone with love and respect - in a world that has very little of that. Use me, even my sinfulness and many imperfections, as a light in a dark world that points to You. Amen
I would love to hear your thoughts today!