things just got real. it's time to take inventory.
FOR YOU WERE ONCE DARKNESS, BUT NOW YOU ARE LIGHT IN THE LORD. LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT. - EPHESIANS 5:8
Over the years I’ve heard people “talk back” to my husband when he’s preaching, not in a disrespectful way, but as a means of encouragement. They say things like “praise God”, “mmm hmm”, “yes, Lord”, and “alright, alright”. As a pastor’s wife, I can affirm that it’s nice just to know your people aren’t sleeping, but are actually tracking. I bring that up, because I want to ask you this question: have you ever heard someone in church say, “now you’re meddlin'"? If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it means things just got real in here, the pastor’s calling us all to account. Whew. Whatever he’s saying might be tough to hear, but it’s because it’s true. The thinking is, if Scripture calls us out, shouldn’t our pastors? Well, I’m no pastor, but I am gonna start meddlin’ with ya. You probably won’t like it. I mean, who would? But the truth is, we all need to hear it. And if Jesus died for sinners (that’s all of us), then sometimes we’re gonna get poked.
So, let me poke at you just a bit.
I’m always encouraging you to read our verse in context, aren’t I? Well, this month, our verse is situated among two contrasting lifestyles, life in the light and life in the darkness. And our verse is calling us to “live as children of light”. And Paul, the author of Ephesians, leaves us with no doubt about exactly what he means, giving us lengthy (even gritty) details of both lifestyles. So let’s start with the dark lifestyle. He gives several warnings not to live in the dark. He urges us to live squeaky clean lives with not even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity. Let that sink in–not a hint, not any kind. We also shouldn’t be greedy, always wanting that next shiny thing or experience. We shouldn’t waste our breath with foolish talk or even mention the shameful things people commit in the dark. We shouldn’t give voice to obscenities or lewd jokes. We shouldn’t get drunk, which leads to reckless living. And just to be totally comprehensive, we should “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness”.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Are you feeling poked yet?
Surely something nudged your conscience. Maybe you curse or make off-color jokes, or laugh when others do so. Or maybe you want all the shiny things every time you walk through Target or scroll your feed. Am I meddlin’ yet? Maybe you look at things you shouldn’t online or watch racy shows. Maybe you drink too much to cope with life. Surely there is something even now that’s making you feel hot under the collar. What is it that’s poking atcha? Or here’s an even harder question: what are you minimizing and explaining away right now? Eeeesh. Now I’m meddlin’ with myself, feeling that pang, wanting to trivialize it. But let me just say, if you’re not, if you’re feeling pretty good about yourself right now, like you’re above that list, then I am most concerned for you. Because we’re all wandering sheep, pulled away from the path by any green blade of grass. But if we know ourselves at all, then we know ourselves best and it should give us pause when we come face to face with our own struggles. None of us is without sin. No, not one.
But there’s this other list…
Oh man, it is sooooo good. It’s heaven. It’s wisdom and goodness and right living. It’s everything out in the open, in the light of day, because there isn’t anything there to hide, it’s all okay. It’s knowing what makes God happy, and then being filled with his Spirit and walking in it. It’s the kind of beautiful fruit that grows in abundance where there is light. It’s living in a community with other people who literally preach and sing to one another and overflow with praise and thanksgiving to God. It’s everything that God has laid out for his people to live like. Truly it is heaven.
And we are already there, but we aren’t there yet.
What the heck does that mean? Well, I’ll tell you. We are already “light in the Lord”. We have been transformed from darkness into light from the second we started believing. We are light, because God has given us the light of Jesus. He has exchanged our darkness for his light. That means his goodness, righteousness, and truth are all ours. We have been given perfect standing before God. So, we are already there, our position is secure. But we’re also not there yet. When we believe Jesus for our salvation, we don’t just become mindless, rule-following robots. We have a proper will, one that is easily lured away by the darkness. So, this is why our verse implores us to “live as children of light”. It’s a choice we must make on the daily.
So now what?
How are you going to live in this middle time, before you truly get there?
What do you need to talk to God about?
Do you need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the dark parts of your life and give you the will to resist?
Do you need a friend to hold your hand through this and hold you accountable?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie! I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you to hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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