Therefore, do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
Ephesians 5:7-11 ESV
What does it mean to be in a formal or informal partnership? Doesn't partnership imply a conscious and active participation in the activities we have bound ourselves to? A partnership does imply the willingness to come under an agreement, even a covenant.
Paul in writing to the church in Ephesus calls them to be unyoked with the deeds of darkness. He used the term "darkness" to invoke the imagination and emotion of his readers on the type of deeds produced by those who do not have the Light - who is Christ. These deeds of darkness include sexual immorality, covetousness (envy and desire for what others have), filthy and foolish speeches.
We are Children of Light whose actions (in thoughts, words, and deeds) should reflect the Light of Christ in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Learning to take this advice is crucial if we are to truly live faithfully as Christians. Sadly, many of us still remain in darkness even among "believers". And as Paul, we are called to instruct and admonish one another to walk in light, and in partnership with the Holy Spirit instead of the world (in terms of its independence from God).
What is the solution that Paul offers to the church who are learning to overcome the darkness? Verses 18-21 provides us some advice:
"....but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV
- Be filled with the Spirit - we cannot become Children of Light and produce the fruit of light without being filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit who helps us to be God's Children that produce spiritual fruit (Ro. 8:13-17; Gal. 5:16-26).
- Address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs - we are reminded to minister and serve one another. Specifically, in the act of corporate worship because we affirm and strengthen our faith when serving one another (Heb. 10:24-25). Our songs reflect our love and faith in Christ.
- Giving thanks always - Thanksgiving takes our minds from coveting. Thanksgiving produces in us the satisfaction and joy that comes from knowing we have all we need in Christ. We develop a spirit of humility and gratitude by thanksgiving (Phil. 4:4-8, 11-13).
- Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ - learning to submit to one another is key to stopping the ongoing cycle of sin in our community. We learn to consider others' interest before ourselves (Phil. 2:1-5). In submitting to one another we are asking ourselves: Are my thoughts and actions harmful to my community - fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? Do they build up and forge unity, or do they tear down and produce discord?
Friends, let us be partners of Light instead of darkness. May our actions and attitudes reflect His light and glory. Continue to serve to build one another.
The Lord be with you.
- Ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
- Seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and wisdom to overcome the temptations you are facing.
- Pray for your family and friends who are living in darkness that God will draw them into His light - to make them Children of Light.