Having given us a verbal quote, a local garage did the necessary work on our car. When we came to pay the bill, we were told that the quote was for cash, and if we paid by cheque it would be 20% more. To save 20% on a bill can seem quite attractive, but to cheat the government by not paying VAT is, of course a deed of darkness, which we must have nothing to do with.
Living in darkness comes so naturally to many people that they think it’s how we’re meant to live. For the believer, living in the dark is tolerating things in our lives which keep us from intimacy with God. Paul challenges believers that their lifestyle should be so dramatically different that it confronts the darkness in the world. The Bible often speaks of lifestyle as a walk, related to progress, growth and maturity. It’s a walk of uncompromising faith and trust in Jesus, sensitive to the Holy Spirit, whose work is to guide us into truth.
Our text for today doesn’t say that you were once in darkness but now you’re in light; it says, ‘You were darkness but now you are light’. In the light we see what isn’t pleasing to God. In the light we confess that secret things hidden in darkness can’t be tolerated in the life of a true believer in Jesus.
Being light or being darkness is an identity issue from which we produce good or bad fruit. Light produces three things. The first one mentioned is goodness – not a passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, and the blessing of others. This isn’t our own goodness, but the fruit of the Spirit. This is strongly in opposition to the fruit of darkness, which grows out of self-centredness and pride. The second fruit is righteousness – simplified this means right relationship with God and with others. We have no righteousness of our own, but we’re made righteous in Christ. To be light implies we’re completely forgiven by God, and we, in turn, have completely forgiven those who’ve sinned against us. The third fruit is truth. Truth means being transparent and open, so we have nothing to hide or fear. Being truth involves always speaking the truth, and is the very opposite to deception – the fruit of darkness.
So, as a believer in Jesus, your true identity is light. There’s been a radical transformation from darkness to light in the Lord, and we’re told to have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but to expose them. We can have things in our lives that we’re afraid, or unwilling, to expose. But exposure of hidden things takes us from a sense of gloom into the full light of a child of God. It’s light which makes hidden things visible, and shows us sin for what it is. It leads us to the arms of a compassionate Saviour.
Because children of God are light they must live conformed to their new identity – as a light of the world, shining to those still in darkness, and daily learning what pleases the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Jesus who’s the light of life and the light of the world. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who illuminates Your word so that its light is shed abroad in my heart, revealing the true and the false. Thank You that You rescued me from darkness and have chosen me to be light. Please give me grace to live in that identity so I will be light in a world that doesn’t know You, but desperately needs You. I pray that today my life will honour Jesus. Amen.
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