Light Versus Darkness
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 5:6-14, Psalm 36:9, 1 John 1:5-10
When we were kids, my brother and I often camped out on the front deck of our three-acre yard. In the California foothills, the sky is clear at night. You can see the stars with clarity, without the obstruction of any phone lines or city pollution. We liked to count how many moving objects we could find in a single night, counting everything from comet tails to satellites to bat wings. (Not to boast or anything, but we came out at forty-eight one summer.)
Occasionally, our parents would come outside looking for an answer to a question, flipping on the flood lamp. Whenever this happened, the game was up. The expanse of stars in our sky theater evaporated by the intrusion of the light’s yellow glare. Only on evenings when our parents stayed in the house (where they belonged) could we experience the grandeur of counting stars in middle school.
Unlike flood lamps exposing the enchantment of a night sky, Ephesians urges us to expose real darkness—more specifically, the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). The Lord we worship is light. He is untainted by evil, and “there is absolutely no darkness in him” (1John 1:5). As people of the Lord, we are called to live as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8). Scripture says that the fruit of the light “consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (v.9). This begs me to ask the question: What darkness in my own life needs exposing in order to bear this fruit?
Usually, works of darkness in my own life don’t look malicious. I’m not prowling around like a storybook villain, slashing down opera-house chandeliers or injuring my father-in-law. Most days, I look like a pretty decent human. But our external appearance is only the tip of the iceberg, right? We’re called to look inwardly, a little deeper (okay, a lot deeper), and discover what hidden or disguised sin might be harming ourselves and others. Most likely, I’m already aware of certain places where lies have been given a microphone or destructive behavioral patterns have persisted. But there are even deeper shadowlands that disrupt our intimacy with Christ that may not be as evident at first. This is why we must ask the Spirit to convict us. God is always faithful to shed light on the darkness.
“Get up, sleeper,” says the author of Ephesians. “Rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14). By exposing the darkness, we will experience the fruit of light. Christ and His attributes will shine on and through us. I’ll ask myself the question again, and I encourage you in the same reflective practice: What darkness in my own life needs to be exposed so that I’m free to bear the fruit of goodness, righteousness, and love in Christ?