By Robert Halsey Pine
“For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:1-20 NRSV).
Do we really understand Paul when he says, “For once you were in darkness?” My perception of living in sin has not always been that of darkness. I used to think that darkness had to do with something outside of my reality. I thought of it as far off. I am in light and darkness is way over there. I have come to realize that darkness is always very close, not unlike nighttime being close to daytime but maybe closer yet.
Darkness is trying to move into my life in every moment. It is a predator and is out to destroy me. It wants to move into my every action and reaction. It wants to dominate my thinking. It disguises itself as a form of light. Now able to recognize it I call it blacklight. It shines favorably on my anger, my deceit, my lust and my negativism. I am fooled by its confirmation of my ways. It distracts me from the only true light, the light that I am with the Lord.
How can I keep from taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness? I must seek the Lord in every moment. St. Paul tells us to “try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.” It is through a regular discipline of nourishing myself with His Word that I begin to hear Him reveal His plan for me. I must learn to recognize the waiting darkness and expose it. The darkness of sin is like photographic film. It is ruined when it is exposed to the light, the light of the Lord.
Paul says, “The fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” He tells us to, “Live as children of the light.” We grow in the Lord according to how much light we get. The amount of darkness that we let in proportionately reduces the amount of fruit that we bear for our Lord God. If we turn to the Lord in and for all things, His light will see us through the darkness that preys upon us, and our fruit will be plentiful.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.