Thursday, May 22, 2008

Daily - 5/22/08

Ephesians 5:8-20

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light,

9 for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.

10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them,

12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret;

13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,

14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

15 Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise,

16 making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.

18 And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

19 addressing one another (in) psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,

20 giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.


In these messages, I’ve avoided the lists of “don’t do this” because I haven’t wanted to sound too preachy, and because I’ve thought that the descriptions seem to be more of a list of sacrifices and denials that make the description of the Christian life unpleasant. But lately I’ve been realizing that the list of “don’t” is every bit as important as the lists of “do”. At first glance (and second, third, hundredth, etc) the descriptions of things we shouldn’t do can look quite onerous. And that’s because they ARE onerous for creatures of the flesh. They are things that some of us have been doing, to some degree, our whole lives. Before committing to Christ, we “were once in darkness” (v. 8).

That’s exactly why we need to be told what not to do. We are creatures of the flesh trying to convert to a life in the Spirit. For a while the spiritual life seems unnatural to us. For me personally, I think that’s why the term “live by the Spirit” has seemed elusive. I can’t really comprehend the description of what “living by the Spirit” looks and feels like. I can read that I am light (v. 8), and that I need to try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord (v. 10), but as a creature of the world those are very abstract ideas. So to start, I need to spend some time concentrating on not doing things that definitely AREN’T in the Spirit. Hopefully over time things that are in the Spirit will come more naturally. Hopefully I’ll spend less time living in ignorance, and do a better job of understanding what is the will of the Lord (v. 17)