“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:8-14
My younger brother used to wake me up at the crack of dawn every Christmas morning. Sometimes I’d hear him open my door, and before he could jump on my bed, I’d turn on my light. He would freeze in his tracks and stare at me – he knew he’d been discovered.
Light has a way of revealing our innermost fears and insecurities, hopes and dreams. Many times, it reveals our hearts to us in ways we hadn’t seen before – making us feel the full weight of our sins but also the expanse of God’s great glory and forgiveness, knowing that as we are now “children of light,” our sins have been forgiven, our slates wiped clean.
More importantly, it can help us “discern what is pleasing to the Lord” so that Christ will shine on us. It refines us through the weight of our sins and the knowledge of our all-encompassing forgiveness through the Lord.
When we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, we must be vulnerable in order to expose the darkness in our own lives. And this can be really uncomfortable sometimes, particularly when the light exposes sins that we’ve tried to suppress deep inside ourselves.
But as we know from Ephesians, “when anything is exposed to the light, it becomes visible.” Hope comes from knowing, then, that “anything that becomes visible is light,” meaning that any sin that we bring into the light actually becomes light. How can this be? How can our deepest, darkest sins and fears become grace, hope, light?
Of course, the answer is through the grace and forgiveness of God. When we let the light permeate our hearts, His grace and forgiveness permeates us as well, thereby transforming what was once darkness into light. And at this moment we accept a huge responsibility – to “walk as children of light,” thereby leading others to the light as well.
This is our main role as leaders in our communities: to be aware of our sin in a way that allows us to lead others to the grace, forgiveness, and freedom of living for our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not an easy road, and requires tempering and encouragement from others who are walking in light along the way. But in the end, we may take comfort that Christ will shine on us and on those we have helped to bring to the light through his guidance.