Summary: A child of light concerns himself with conduct that is personally and morally fitting for those who are blessed and have Christ dwelling in them.
In our study of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, we were first challenged to pursue understanding—we are blessed in the heavenly realms; we can know Christ more and more, and as we know him he will become for us our only prize, our greatest treasure; we are God’s completed work, created in Christ Jesus to do good works; and we are completed in Christ, each of us belong and have an important place in God’s family and in what he is doing in and through the church.
Having pursued such understanding, we go on to hear from Paul an invitation to receive grace. The first favor we receive is the gift of Christ himself dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. As people of his presence, then, we are invited by that same grace to both proclaim Christ and present Christ to the world.
So, Paul says, those who have pursued understanding and received grace are to live on another level. Live differently. Don’t go by that old familiar pattern. Put off the old and put on the new. Living on another level begins with living a life of love.
Now Paul is charging us to not only live a life of love, but to live as children of light. At issue is our conduct. A life of love concerns itself with the manner in which one acts toward others. A child of light concerns himself with conduct that is personally and morally fitting for those who are blessed and have Christ dwelling in them. This text demands that we ask ourselves as we study it, "Am I living as a child of light?" "Am I projecting light into a dark world?"
The importance of this question is increasingly real to us in the wake of the turmoil currently affecting the Catholic church. Allegations of sexual abuse and the mishandling of the cases of suspected molesters in the church has greatly affected the church’s ability to be light. Even the mention of such iniquity has cast a cloud of darkness over the church. Consider a couple of comments posted on Yahoo in recent weeks:
"The beginning of the end for the Roman Catholic church. Money and power was more important than faith for centuries." -- ricardo4max
"Sure, it probably will (survive). I have stopped going as of Easter, though. It is a disgrace and it makes me sick. I can pray at home and God will hear me. I don’t need to go and give money to collections so they can buy more porn. What a joke the Catholic Church is. Disgusting." -- Burton96
Now, I want to be clear that I am not reading these things to blast the Catholic church. I use this example so we may see how our morality effects our light. In these highly publicized cases, we can see how the conduct of a few can cast darkness over an entire church. And rest assured, the tragedy that is occurring in the Catholic Church is only a magnification of what happens every time you or I or anyone who claims to be light acts in a way that is not fitting for those who are blessed and bear the name Christian. Make no mistake, people watch what we do and measure it against our message. This is the thrust of Paul’s message to the church in Ephesus and to us today. So ask yourself today, "Am I living as a child of the light?
First, let us define the light. Our greatest help in defining the light is, perhaps, by defining the darkness. After all, where there is light there is no darkness at all. So if we can determine what darkness is, we’ll know that light is where there is no darkness.
Let us mark one side of the room "darkness" and the other side "light " (Lights on that side) When Paul is speaking of darkness and light, he is contrasting different levels of understanding, one of which is separated from God and the other which knows him. It’s not an issue of good and evil, like in Star Wars when Hans Solo uses the force to fight "The Dark Side." It’s a matter of understanding vs. Not understanding. He used the Gentiles as an example for defining the darkness, saying, "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." (Eph. 4:18-19). Those in the dark live without understanding. Without understanding a man or woman has no basis for their conduct apart from what feels right. They don’t know God. They cannot understand his ways. So they can only act on an instinct that is corrupted by selfishness. So they indulge themselves with a continual lust for more and more. It might look like evil. It might not. But it is conduct that comes from having no light.