Just as children follow their parent’s example, Paul exhorts us to follow God’s lead by expressing love to others. Easy to say; often hard to do. So how do we comply with Paul’s request? Christian love differs from carnal passion inasmuch as its motivated and modeled after Christ’s sacrificial love, or as Paul writes in Philippians 2:5, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus,” the highest possible standard for believers. In the reading below, Paul lists certain actions that are out of place for Christians, urging us instead to be thankful for the new life we receive when we turn to Christ.
When Paul writes, "once you were full of darkness,” he’s reminding the Ephesians they were once ignorant of God and his ways because they were dominated by sin. But once they — and we — received the “light from the Lord” which is the gospel as the guiding light in our lives, we come into harmony with God’s Spirit. Paul’s point is to obey God’s will, not simply to understand it! He goes on to recommend we “expose” worthless deeds committed by others, he’s not saying we should verbally accuse or condemn anyone, but instead show them the light by the way we live and interact with others. Love conquers all!
Paul urges us to make “the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” The evil days as described by Jesus are in Matthew 24:6-12 & 15-22. Also, by Paul in Chapter 2 of his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians:
3Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
5Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
9This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.
During these stressful times of isolation and uncertainty, we must take every opportunity to let Christ’s light shine through deeds of kindness and love. By living lives filled and governed by the Holy Spirit, we move the world one step closer to bringing God’s kingdom “to earth as it is in heaven.”
Paul has specific instructions for us on how to behave. All relationships in the body of Christ — which is the Christian community — are characterized by love and respect. Submission of wives to their husbands or children to their parents is not expressed out of fear but out of reverence for our Lord. This lifestyle — which remains a mystery to non-believers — is a divine truth revealed only to believers in the gospel’s Good News.
Food for Thought:
Paul sets the highest possible standards for Christians. What does he want us to do?
How should we conduct our lives?
Why does Paul suggest we “make the most of every opportunity?”
How do Christians show they're filled with the Holy Spirit?
Why was Paul’s command to submit to one another so revolutionary?