In our reading of Ephesians, we have seen that God is to be glorified in the church. Displaying God in all His magnificent splendor and His kind mercy and love is accomplished through the character and gifts of both the leadership and the people. Glorying God is done by seeking to remain humble and patient, not pursuing your own interests but making every effort to put up with the weaknesses of others. Pursue peace, unity, and spiritual growth. Learn to love! You are no longer what you once were. Do not think, relate, or act like the world around you. Of course, sin can take you by surprise sometimes, so turn back as soon as possible. Paul urged this kind of lifestyle for both leaders and members of the local church:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace….until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood…we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Ephesians 4:1-16).
This sounds like a pipe-dream, doesn’t it?
It makes sense only if you remember that Jesus taught there was a great divide between the people of God and the rest of the world.
The difference begins when God acts. “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). “If God were your Father, ye would love Me” (John 8:42). “He that is of God heareth God’s word: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 9:47). The differences are contrasted by the simile of darkness and light. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do we light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick:…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
In Ephesians 4 and 5, Paul is applying this difference between those who have been drawn to Christ and those who do not believe. The difference starts with how one thinks… and leads to how one feels… and then to how one acts:
“…you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them; due to their hardness of heart” (Ephesians 4:17).
Those without God think they are very wise, but they are fools. They can’t think straight. They are ignorant where it counts. They are walking in the dark. They make decisions based on their feelings and desires instead of their understanding. They see God all around them in creation, but they do not honor Him or thank Him.
“…but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…(Romans 1:21-22).
Since they can’t think straight, they are driven by their desires. What they want takes over. They are deceived by their own lusts.
Those who are Christians are not to live like this. You are to be driven by you understanding of God and His word, not your desires. So your character and actions are to be different from those who are making life decisions in the dark. You are the light of the world. Renew your mind and be sure you are thinking straight. You are not a fool. So don’t be deceived by your desires to be, have, or do! Instead, control your tongue and anger, not letting your emotions slip into bitterness and malice. Sexual desires are not to control you, deceiving you into adultery or fornication.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children: And walk in love…” (Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2.).
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”(Philippians 2:15).
“For ye were formerly darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light…and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:8,11).
People of the day are very different from people of the night. Which are you? Those who are children of light glorify God in the local church and in their families by how they think, relate to others, and what they do. Love God and glorify Him forever.