Be imitators of God… Walk as children of light…Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time for the days are evil… Ephesians 5:1; 7; 15
We are surrounded by influence. We live in a culture that values influence. Just look at the social media apps that inundate us with self-made stars through apps like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo. Influence is neutral turf, so it can be, Biblically speaking, good or bad. Influence involves the sharing of ideas, values, and character qualities that the person or group deems right and necessary. It’s ultimately up to the consumer to make up their mind on the information and arguments presented to them, but nonetheless, still have them plumbed into their news feeds and “up next” videos.
This works the same way with our walk with in Christ. We have been saved by grace, bought by His blood, and sanctified by the Spirit, but we have also been called to be salt and light. We are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). Our salvation drives our determination. With the dual reality of being saved but also still being surrounded by what previously condemned us, what are we to do to avoid displeasing God, quenching the Spirit, and fostering holiness in our walks? I submit a few things below that may help us from the 5th chapter of Ephesians.
1. Imitate God (v.1)
We all have someone who we look up to and that we want to be like. If we want to be like them, we have to act like them. If we want to act like them, we would do well to know how they think.In other words, we get to know them. In much the same way, Paul is saying to imitate God! How? Simple, by knowing what He’s like, how He thinks, what characterizes Him, what attributes He holds, and how He responds. The only way for us to know this information is through His Word, the Bible.
2. Walk in the Light (v.7)
God has frequently referred to sin as “night” or “darkness”. It’s appropriate, because we know night by its stark contrast of day. One is extremely bright and vivid, teeming with life and errands; the other, cloaked in the unseen and dim. Night time is often where thieves break in and steal, robbers rob in the back alleys, drunk people are being kicked out of bars, and adultery is occurring. You catch my drift. Paul is saying, “fornicators, idolaters, drunkards, and the like do all of their activities in darkness because they’re in sin; you however, are not in sin, so come out in the Light and walk in the Light.” If we are to be Christians (little Christs) then I think we are to be light shining like Him who is the Light of the world. Morally upright and also living under grace.
3. Leverage your time (v.15)
No greater opportunity arises for sin than when time is being wasted. It’s surely a guarantee that if you are being slothful and lazy, not resting and not recreating, but intentionally, yet mindlessly abusing time; you will eventually slip into sin. I naturally gravitate to sinful slothfulness. I’m not necessarily a task-driven person, but more of a steady-paced person. If I have nothing to do, I’ll default into sloth. Knowing this about myself and in conjunction with all of the media present and easily accessible to me, I know where I will go. So my only recourse is to budget my time like I do my money. I want to make sure that I am intentional as possible with my time to use it for the glory of God. I am currently in the process of reading a great book that is practical in this area called Living Forward that helps me see my life in terms of my mortality and aligning my time around what’s most vital to me. I also use a product called the Full Focus Planner to square up my days and keep on track.
Lastly, Paul would close out this entire section on how Christ is ultimately the inspiration we draw from in all of our efforts. That’s where Paul got practical with it. He touched marriage, the home, parental authority, children and their obedience…the whole nine! Ultimately, our best efforts are still filthy rags, because they will always be stained with sin. But with Christ as our great hope and example, we have hope that we can escape the snares of this life that keep us from glorifying God, being salt, and being light to a dark and decaying world. It will keep us from being like a boat with dozens of holes in its bottom, slowly sinking in what it was once meant to roam.