Have you ever bought canned Lite fruit at the grocery store? Sometimes, it’s real fruit packaged with fruit juices and no added sugar. Sometimes it’s real fruit packaged with an artificial sweetener. It’s pretending to be healthful when really, it’s not the real thing.
The Christian life can be the same way. Real fruit and nothing but fruit. But sometimes there are pretenders compromising a little bit here and a bit there and in the end, not being just fruit. That life lacks wholeness and frankly, integrity.
That’s what today’s passage speaks about when it talks about the fruit of the light. For emphasis today, I’ve chosen the paraphrase (instead of a translation) of Ephesians 5:1-16 from The Message.
5: 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that…
5 You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness…So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
It is true that we’re in desperate times—times that are revealing the authenticity and integrity of self-proclaimed Christians.
Do you display fruit of the light, or just Lite fruit? Is your light slowing down?
Fun Fact of Light: Can light be slowed down? According to Physlink.com Gary Russell replies, “The short answer is No. Einstein’s theory of special relativity is based on the idea that the speed of light is always constant. However, we CAN make it take longer for light to travel a set distance. In fact, we say that light travels more slowly in optically dense media. That statement is somewhat misleading…The delay between the time that the atom absorbs the photon and the excited atom releases as photon causes it to appear that light is slowing down.”
Gregory Ogin says it this way: “This apparent slowing of a light wave is responsible for the way light bends as it enters mediums like glass and water…Prisms work because of the fact that different wavelengths of light have different speeds in the material, and so get bent different amounts. The different colors composing “white” light get bent differently as they go through a prism, and the resulting separated colors form the rainbows you generally see coming out of prisms. “
For Further Thought:
- As you re-emit the light of Christ to the world, is it the full-hued light of Christ or something less?
- If the purity of the media through which light passes determines the “fruit of light” then what kinds of things can keep us from displaying the full-hued light of Christ and end up with Lite fruit instead?
- What are some of the easy concessions that Christians make which serve to compromise our integrity?
Thank You, Father, that Your Son Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). We thank You, Jesus, for pressing on to the Cross and laying down Your life so that we might have true life in You. Help us never to compromise our Christianity and never to deny You under threat of persecution or opposition. Grant us strength since these are desperate times! Amen.