For the Apostle Paul, to be a follower of Jesus means “living in the light.” This theme is powerfully articulated in these verses from Ephesians:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. . . . For you were once in 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” (Ephesians 5:1-2 and 8-10, NIV).
In the verses that surround this passage in Ephesians, Paul gives many practical instructions about how to live out the gospel of peace. Here’s a quick list of these practical guidelines:
- Tell the truth
- Control your anger
- Remain sexually pure
- Don’t steal
- Work hard
- Avoid disruptive behavior
- Build others up
- Be compassionate
The call to be a peacemaker and a reconciler is a theme woven throughout the whole fabric of Scripture. The words of the wise man recorded in Proverbs to “walk the path of peace,” the counsel of the Psalmist to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to pursue peace, the advice of the prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk to “seek the peace of the city” and rejoice despite the circumstances – all of these serve as helpful guidelines for living a life of faith.
These Old Testament injunctions are reiterated by Jesus and his disciples, as well as by the Apostle Paul. The Good News from the Prince of Peace is that those who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior are “born again.” They are redeemed and recreated into “children of light.” They are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be agents of the Kingdom of God, agents of peace and reconciliation.
No citizen of the Kingdom of God will ever be unemployed. Everyone has been given a job to do – showing both the love of God and our love for God.
- I really love this word picture of followers of Jesus living as “children of light.” I have been in some dark places in my life and it has been reassuring to me to know that my little “light” can make a real difference when it is all dark where I am standing. Have you ever experienced that? Even a little light can make an impression and that’s all we are called to be – lights or reflectors of God’s light.
- The book of Ephesians is such great reading because it weaves together theological insights with practical guidelines for living as Jesus calls us to live. Do other passages in the Bible come to mind that offer similar insights?
- Do you ever feel “unemployed” or “underemployed” as a follower of Jesus? Do you ever struggle with your current situation in life and wonder if this is “all there is”? This passage from Ephesians is telling all of that if we just live as “children of the light” we are making a difference in our world!