Ephesians 5:8-14 (NIV)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
Light is one of those elements that is so common, we take it for granted. It is essential to sight, so it is literally a part of most of our waking moments. To really appreciate light, however, you must be able to contrast it with its antithesis, darkness.
Darkness is really the absence of light. We were once there. This scripture reminds us we were actually darkness. (It does not say we were in darkness, we were once darkness). There was a time we had no light. We should never loose touch with who we’ve been, it keeps us humble.
Then came light. One thing true about light is that it must have a source. Our light comes from the Lord (you are light in the lord). It’s not about us then, we are not the source, our lives are just the vehicle, the rays from the sun.
Our job is simply to do what light does by its nature, illuminate. Specifically we are to expose the ‘fruitless deeds of darkness’. What does that entail? The Hebrew word for expose is elegcho which means to reprove, refute, rebuke. I like to think of this visually, considering what light does; when a flashlight beam slides over objects it is simply showing the object for what it is. As vs 13 says, “everything exposed by the light becomes visible”. We are to make things visible, to illuminate the world around us.
The bigger question is how? If you read the chapter in full there are many answers to how – I’ll list a few 1) Be imitators of God 2) Live a life of love 3) Live without sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, and coarse joking 4) Live with goodness, righteousness and truth 5) Give thanks, sing hymns, and make music.
If we do these things, then without thinking, we should shine. Light by it’s very nature exposes things and light is uncomfortable to those who’ve been used to the dark. When is the last time you’ve been around someone uncomfortable by the natural illumination of your life? It’s time to shine!