As leaders in the body of Christ we set an example of people who walk in the light. This is not an example of people with a religious heart or attitude. It is simply allowing things in our life that need to be changed, to be changed. God doesn’t look to expose people’s sins for the sake of revealing sin. He wants the weak areas our lives to be made strong by the power of His grace at work in our lives.
Ephesians 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
These verses in the New King James Version reveals that the fruit of the Spirit is in whatever is good, righteous, or true. Other versions state this as the fruit of light. In either case, the evidence is seen in the fruit, not pretend doing. Sometimes the lines between good and evil, righteous and unrighteous, true and false get blurred. A good indicator that we are walking in the path of life is the evidence of the fruit of life. We cannot do fruit, fruit is something that happens when we live in the place where fruit grows. Fruit is something that gives life-energy to someone else and releases seeds for a future generation of life. Fruit is not a self-gratifying thing; it is a life-giving thing to others beyond your own life.
Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
As leaders we must set an example of walking in the light. We will manifest love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are not things that we teach others to do. These are things that manifest when we are simply walking in the light. When these things don’t manifest there is something that is not good, not righteous, or not true in our lives. It might even sound scripturally true, but if the fruit of the Spirit is not there it is not the right Spirit.
The cure to being free from any darkness in our lives is to simply embrace fellowship with light. The light simply transforms the darkness in us to light when we walk in the light. This is an issue of transparency, vulnerability, and a willingness to change. There is no condemnation for our darkness. There is simply a cure. That cure is to embrace the light.
Ephesians 5:11-13 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Leaders set an example to others as to how we can embrace the light. We must live our lives awake to God and awake to the things that bring life to others.
Ephesians 5:14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Living is about being awake to God and awake for the sake of others. We are the light of God in Christ and Christ within our hearts is the light of our souls. It is time that we shine for the sake of the world.
Ephesians 5:15-21 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
We must live our lives aware of what is going on in and around us. We seek to live, not live to die. True life is found in our fellowship with God and with one another. It is not in religious efforts, but the sound of life that come out of hearts and affects others around us. Being filled with the Spirit is likened unto being drunk with wine. It must be intended to cause our souls to come alive in a bold and outwardly expressed way? Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is not some religious form of music. It is simply living with happy, celebratory, life-giving sounds, testimonies and expressions that touch the live of others. We are to live in relationship with one another in a life-giving way.
To all of you leaders I want to encourage you to be filled with the life of God in a way that the expressions of your life bring life to others. You are those who inspire others to know how much God loves them. You don’t just inspire them to love God, you create an atmosphere where they get a revelation of God’s love in their lives. When they know how much He loves them they cannot help but love Him. Let’s be leaders of life, not religious rules of law!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson