What am I hiding?
Ephesians 5:1-20 (from the larger context of 4:17-5:20)
This passage uses many concepts that lend themselves well to
illustration. Darkness and light (5:8) – stories of being afraid of the
dark, the chaos that happens when the lights go out, etc. Secret (5:12) –
the game of Truth or Dare, how secrets tend to get out, Hide &
How does the idea of “private” fit with the Christian life? Are there
things that should be kept private? What might be the value of bringing
things out into the light?
- Love (5:1-7)
- We are loved (5:1-7) – we are “dearly loved children” (1), and
children who are loved tend to thrive! We are to “love, just as Christ
loved us,” so even if our family and friends are poor models we have an
example of love who empowers us to love – Christ.
- We are loving (1-7). Positively stated, we are to “Follow God’s
example” (1) which carries the idea of imitating, mimicking or tracing
(the more carefully a child traces something, the more it looks like the
original). Negatively stated, we are to avoid those things which
undermine a loving life (3-7) – of such things there should not even be a
The Greatest Command (Mark 12:30-31) is to love God completely and others unconditionally.
- Light (5:8-14)
- Darkness – what we were (“For once you were in darkness…” –
8). Satan is described as the “Prince of Darkness” and Ephesians later
refers to the “powers of this dark world” (6:12). Apart from Christ,
people are headed to a destiny of darkness (Matthew 8:12).
- Light – what we are (“…now you are light in the Lord. Live
as children of light…” – 8). This transition is also described by Paul
in Colossians 1:13 and I Peter 2:9. We are to “expose” (11) deeds of
darkness (an illustration might be x-ray, like going through airport
security to locate anything threatening) and we are to have “nothing to
do with them.” (11)
- Live (5:15-21)
“Be very careful” carries the idea of examining, alertness, being aware
and wide awake. Dimensions of this “wide-awake” spiritual life include:
- Pursuing God’s will (16-17). “making the most of every opportunity…” indicates living life by “divine windows of opportunity” (kairos) rather than just marking time on a calendar (chronos). To take full advantage of opportunities, we need to “understand what the Lord’s will is.”
- Being filled with God’s Spirit (18). “Be filled” is best expressed
as “keep on being filled” and means a moment-by-moment submission to
God’s Spirit (images would be filling a glass, the wind filling the
sails of a boat providing power and direction, meat marinating in a
sauce until it is filled with the flavor, humans being filled with anger
or fear or sorrow).
- Giving thanks to God (19-20) – it may be done verbally or musically
(“speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, songs from the Spirit –
the Bible never prescribes an exact style), but it should always be from
the heart (“sing and make music in your heart”).
Ephesians 5:16 challenges us to “make the most of every opportunity.”
What are the opportunities God has placed before you right now in the
church? In your family? In your workplace?
Reflection & Action
Use the guide for either personal devotions or group discussion.
© Wayne Schmidt