Radiate Part Two: How to be a Flashlight in the Dark
In Ephesians 4:17-32, we find a section of scripture that in some translations has been titled "Living as Children of Light." I have included it below in the message version, so you can briefly look over it: And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Yesterday I wrote a post entitled "Radiate" it is all about how we were designed to be a reflection of God's light in a dark world. This post is more of a practical how-to on the same subject straight from Paul's letter to the Ephesian church. So...how do we shine?
1. Don't be ignorant
Ignorance is something the world is full of, even in the church. Ignorance is the result of a lack of knowledge. I am convinced that many Christians are ignorant of God's promises towards them, the authority He has given them and the extent of His love for them. I believe many of us are even fuzzy on what it is we say we believe. When we are ignorant of God's truth, we find ourselves vulnerable and many times we end up just "going along with the crowd." God has given us His Word, the Bible, so we never have to fumble around in the dark. Read it!
2. Don't look back
The past is the past. Once you opened up your heart to Christ, you became a new person and He began the process of making you more like Him. He doesn't see you in light of your past failures and you shouldn't either.
3. Tell the truth Tell the truth to others and tell the truth to yourself. Don't speak deception and don't accept deception as your reality. This world is full of lies and the enemy is always devising ways to deceive you and to lead you away from the truth. Know the truth of God (refer to #1) and think it. Speak it. Live it. 4. Get over it
We all have the right to our emotions and we get angry from time to time. That's cool, just don't stay that way. It's unfun and unhealthy. God wants us to learn to practice the art of forgiveness (jump down to number 7).
5. Stop stealing
Do you steal? Stop it. Do you find yourself consumed with jealousy over what someone else has? Stop that also. God has greatly blessed you. Spend some time figuring out the unique ways that God has blessed you and be thankful.
6. Watch your mouth This is one area that we all struggle with. In order to radiate God's light, we need to watch the words that come out of our mouths. Are we cutting people down with our words? Are we backbiting and gossiping about others behind their backs? Are our words life-giving? This is especially hard to do when we have been hurt or offended, which leads us to our last point.
7. Practice forgiveness Learn to forgive. We all make mistakes and from time to time we all act like idiots. Let's choose to see the good in each other. But what about those situations where the person doesn't deserve forgiveness? Choose to forgive anyways. Holding on to all that resentment is only going to hurt you.