In this post I want go back to my study in Ephesians. I left off at Ephesians 4:16 so I want to pick it up from there.
About a month ago our family gathered together with friends to enjoy an evening around a bonfire. We had a great time. Although it was a little on the cold side, it was a good evening. That night the kids even pulled out their instruments (banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle) and played along with another friend that brought his large bass. Everyone seemed to have a great time eating chili, drinking hot drinks and fellowshipping with other believers. Of course the evening began in the light but over time, as anyone walked away from the fire, the darkness would engulf them.
At the beginning of the event the boys and a few of us old guys played some football in the front yard. It was easy to see the ball for awhile but over time as the darkness crept in it became more and more difficult to see. The older guys gave up shortly thereafter for fear of getting hurt while the younger boys played on in what seemed to be complete darkness.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
In Ephesians chapter 4 Paul told the Ephesians how to walk worthy of their calling in Christ. He encourages them to have meekness, longsuffering and uphold one another in love. He describes our unity in Christ and then outlines spiritual gifts that we have in Christ. After all of this, Paul brings his readers back to the basics; he reminds them of who they were before Christ. As unbelievers they were ignorant to God because of the blindness of their heart. They once lived in darkness but now live in the light.
I consider our world today and how so many willingly walk in darkness and how this verse can apply to them. I find it so easy to point fingers at the world, but as I look at this verse, I must consider the audience to whom Paul was speaking, he was speaking to believers. He is reminding them to not walk like the world, and don’t think like the world. The world is blinded by their willful ignorance of God and is willingly following their hardened heart’s desires. He is saying this should not be so of the believer. I wondered for a second why would Paul take the time to tell the Believers at Ephesus not to walk as the Gentiles (world), they were Christians. My conclusion is that even though we see in preceding verses that the Believers were following after Christ, Paul was giving a warning of the potential dangers that could befall them.
As Christian’s we are born into the light of the wonderful Grace and Mercy of God, but until we are raptured into heaven one day, we continue to live in a sinful body and a sinful world. It is this sin nature that is a continual pull on the believer and if we are not careful we too can be drawn back into a dark corner of our sinful life without recognizing the subtle changes in our walk.
Although some individuals lose their sight through a tragic injury or accident and go from light to darkness in an instant, most people lose their sight very gradually like the boys that played football that night. Yes, they knew it was getting dark but to them, it was no big deal, they could “handle it”.
As parents, it is our responsibility to train our children to walk in the Light of God’s Word and to recognize when the darkness of this world begins to creep in. Often the question may not be, “Is it sin?” rather, “Is it the right timing or best thing to do?”
The following are a few questions to ask ourselves on a daily basis:
1. Do I want to serve the Lord today, or myself?
2. Did I feed on God’s word today to fill me with His ways and thoughts?
3. Have I prayed that He would direct my path today?
4. Is what I have done or about to do:
a. good for me? How?
b. good for others? How?
c. beneficial for me or others? How?
d. affect faith and witness to others? How?
e. does it glorify God, How?
f. does it honor my parents (if applicable)? How?
g. will it bring me closer to God? How?
h. Scripturally permissible, but is it likely to be a stumbling block to those around me?
5. Do I have that still small voice speaking to me about what I have done or am going to do?
Asking ourselves and teach our children these types of questions can give us insights into whether something may or may not be of God. Asking the follow up question of How, helps us to get specific and not brush off the question as easily.
We all have blind spots in our lives. If you haven’t already, why not partner with someone close to you that can give you honest and loving feedback so that iron sharpens iron?