For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:8-11, NKJV).
Paul did not write anything that he was not serious about; it would be unfortunate if Christians looked upon the writings of the Holy Spirit as something that was merely optional. It would also be deadly! Note the following in this small section of Ephesians.
First, Paul mentioned that they were no longer of this world, but they were, as Christians are today, “light in the Lord.” The meaning of this is seen in 5:12-13; they are no longer walking in darkness, but the darkness they once walked is now exposed and seen it for what it really is. Consequently, the choice made encourages each to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
Second, not only were they encouraged to seek what pleases the Lord, this was also an admonishment (warning). A Christian has a greater purpose in life than merely enjoying what this life offers. The “standard operating procedure” for the child of God, Peter said, is that each Christian was to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18).
Third, the path now taken and the growth a Christian is to exhibit will, naturally, educate and expose those things that are contrary to the Lord’s way of righteousness.
Let us consider some particular examples of exposing “unfruitful works of darkness.” A young person is influenced and educated in the things of Christ; after becoming a Christian and after learning more of the way of righteousness, that young person is confronted with the things of this world in a different sort of way. Once such confrontation is related to an event at school called “dance.” This can be a hard test for both the young Christian and the parents. However, to give us a visual image, we might ask ourselves the question: can you imagine the Lord going to a high school dance and “getting down” on the dance floor? Neither can any other reasonable or godly person. Why go then?
Another application to be made is in the adult world. Life is busy; children are growing up, responsibilities at work are increasing, and to complicate it all the family obligations are becoming tense. How in the world can a Christian make the Lord first in his life in such an environment? Our generation’s stress compared with another generation’s stress is in relation to the difference between be technology and one’s moral compass. In the first century, with day-laborers, if one did not work there was no pay and no ability to purchase food for the family. Working hours did not cease at eight; fathers may not have had opportunity to spend the quality time with the children as desired. What they could do, however, was make sure that which was important in life was instilled—and this does not pertain to personal hygiene or school homework or recreational activities with friends. All of these may be useful and beneficial in one way or another, but if one’s spiritual health is not adequately addressed, of what value will a shower be, or a ball game if a child is lost to a devil’s hell?
The Lord wants us to take serious His exhortations. RT