Y’all Must Shine

Date Posted: March 19th, 2012

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Ephesians 5:8

One of the limitations of the English language us that we same the same word “you” whether we are referring to an individual or a group.  Except for our friends in the southern states, who have this delightful expression  “y’all.”  Now Paul is using “y’all” here: “Y’all were darkness, but now y’all are light in the Lord” (5:8).

God brings the light into you

You were once darkness, but now you are light… Ephesians 5:8

It’s not just that you were in darkness; darkness was in you.  Paul has been explaining that the darkness touched your mind (4:17), your feelings, or rather lack of them, (4:19) and your will (4:18).  Your problem was not limited to the darkness around you; the problem was the darkness inside you.  Sin put out the light in you. 

Paul does not say that God has brought you into light; he says “you are light.”  What has happened to you is not just a change of position, like being moved from a dark room into a lit room, it is a change of nature.  It’s not just that God brings you into the light, but that God brings the light into you.  How does that happen?

Connected to the life of Christ

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6

Gods puts His light in His people.  You are light in the Lord.  Christ is the light, and when we get connected to Him through faith, we share in His nature.

A few years ago, my office at church got a facelift.  My one request was for more light.  My wish was granted—full, pressed down and running over!  There are enough halogen bulbs in there now for a night game at Wrigley Field.

This created a problem during the summer months, when heat from the lights caused the temperature in my office to rise well above comfort level.  So, we had a ceiling fan installed, and when the fan rotated, the blades clipped the beams of light, turning my office into a discotheque! 

This amused the office staff, but it made it difficult for me to get anything done.  So, we’ve found the answer: A simple half-turn on the bulbs nearest the fan has put them out of action.  Losing their connection, they lose their ability to shine.  Everything depends on the connection.

Christ is the Light of the World, and when we get connected to Him through faith, His life flows into us and we will shine.  Jesus said, “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36).  If the life of Christ is in you, you will shine.

Live as children of the light

Live as children of light.  Ephesians 5:8

This is who y’all are, so this is how y’all have to live.  This is the calling of the church.

What does that mean?  

Put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor (4:25).  In a world of hype, exaggeration, ludicrous claims and downright lies, let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, and you will be a light.  People will begin to see that they can trust what you say.  When people look at the church, may they see that there is community of people who are honest—that’s why keeping our word is so important—it’s part of being the light.  That’s what y’all must do.

In your anger do not sin (4:26).  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.  In our culture, disagreement usually leads to separation.  That’s why it’s so important for us to work at resolving relational problems in the church.  It’s part of being the light.

He who has been stealing must steal no longer but must work doing something useful with his hands, that he may have something to share with those in need (4:28).  There is a certain kind of person who approaches life by asking, “What is the minimum that I have to do?”  Paul says “Don’t be like that.”  Do something useful.  Be industrious.  Look to see how you can make the greatest contribution to your company, your home and your family, and you will be a light.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs (4:29).  Words have great power either to build up or to tear down.  If our speech has the effect of building others up, then we will be light in a culture where so many words are aimed at tearing other people down.

Don’t ever expect the world to shine for you; God calls you to shine for the world.  It is a dark place, and God has put you where you are to be a light.  That’s a challenge for the whole church. 

If Paul could visit your church and speak with a southern accent, he would say, “Y’all are the light! Y’all are the people who claim to know that eternity itself is secure. Y’all have the Holy Spirit of God in you. Y’all live in a dark place. Now live as children of light!”

This LifeKey is based on the message “Light,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “Unlocking the Bible in Ephesians & Philippians,” preached on September 30, 2001.

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