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A Good Conversation

Last Sunday morning, my men’s group arrived at Ephesians 5. We’ve been working our way through Paul’s letters and I would say that this week was some of the best conversation we had. Why? I am not really sure, beyond that I believe it gets close to what we as followers of Christ have been called to. It was a great conversation thought and I wanted to bring you in on it.

The title of Ephesians 5 is “Be Imitators of God”. I think its important to start with this because this will be our challenge. It’s not an easy task, nor one to take lightly, but its one to aspire to daily.

Paul opens his letter with this:

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

It’s a challenging passage. However, its one that as a follower of Christ I am called to live this out. There are a lot of negative influences around us and by succumbing to any of those, we put ourselves in danger of withdrawing into the darkness as opposed to living in the light.

I do want to draw the attention to a very small verse in this passage. It’s one that caught my eye after reading through this a second time on Sunday morning. It’s verse 10, “and find out what pleases the Lord.”

What does please the Lord? If he were to look at my life, all parts of it, would it be pleasing to the Lord? If not, how do I find out what is pleasing to Him? Where do I look for such things? Well, the first place I know not to look would be in the darkness. I feel Paul is clear about staying away from there. I need to be looking at the illuminated things. One comment that was made was, “If you need to ask if something pleases God, then it probably doesn’t”. I think this is wise. Too often we try to stretch out what God means for our own benefit and guilty pleasure. But I believe this verse is a bit more cut and dry than that. I believe it should be clear what pleases God. We need to continue to look at His word and we need to be in tune with what He says through it.

When we shape and bend the rules, we are opening ourselves to be deceived. I have seen it many times. Too many people fall because the sin in their life leads them to believe its more about them then it is about God. It’s a lie. When I read verse 10 it leaves me with a good feeling. I don’t feel as if this is something I will be searching for forever, but its something that is clear, something that I can find.

Have you been searching for what pleases the Lord? What have you found? Have you left the darkness or are you still sitting on the edge dangling your feet in it? If you haven’t left it, now is the time.

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