Evil exists in the world. The darkness of evil is ever-present, attempting to corrupt God’s people and lead everyone into sin. This darkness can be present in significant actions like murder and rape, but it is also seen in acts of anger, gossip, sexual immorality, and greed. Evil has many forms, and all of them are destructive.
Paul writes to the Church in the city of Ephesus, and in the fifth chapter, he is telling them about making changes in their lives for God. There are activities to stop doing and other things to start doing. He then says that we are to stop living in darkness and begin to live in the light of the Lord. Next, he adds, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11 – NIV 2011)
One thing a believer is to do is avoid evil. It’s another thing to expose the corruption that others might be accepting as good.
This is not a call for people to be mean-spirited toward others with judgmental eyes. It is not an excuse to boycott people and things with signs and shouts. Later in that same chapter, Paul states that “everything exposed by the light becomes visible.” I believe it is an appeal for Christians to shine the light of truth found in God’s word into the world. How do they shine that light? When they elevate their standard of living to match Jesus, the world will see the failure of their choices.
The more we try to live each day for Jesus and in the power of his Spirit, we move away from what Paul calls “the fruitless deeds of darkness.” We will also shine a light on those around us, showing them the failure of not walking the same path. When a believer’s life is not different from an unbeliever’s, we are failing ourselves, and those around us will suffer from a lack of light. In both cases, darkness prevails.