But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5: 8

 

In our natural world day and night stand in stark contrast to each other. That is why people have used images of light and dark as descriptors of the sorts of differences in thought, feeling, action, and behavior that frequently can be associated with living out in the openness of light or under the concealment of darkness. There are things that most of us would be fine with having our mothers see and other things that we want to do in obscurity. We all entertain thoughts that help to define our best selves and others that are not ones that we would share with the public. This is how people operate in our sinful humanity. So, this is also a part of what the presence of Christ within the body, mind, and soul of people who believe in Him works to transform.

 

Christ changes us. He takes us from the world into which we were born and places us into His renewed perspective on that same environment. We may still seek out those dark places of seeming pleasure and self-worth, but the Spirit does speak a different, a transformed, reality and truth to us. Although we are not forced by Christ to change or to conform to this new understanding of what it means to live as a redeemed person in Christ, the presence of His Spirit within sets up a constant tension and a form of discomfort that, when we surrender to God’s Word of truth, should drive us toward living in the light of righteousness. This is the life-long tension that most followers of Christ experience. Paul is appealing to us to seek out living in the reality of our enlightened souls. He wants each of us to make that choice each and every time we are confronted with it.

 

So, the Apostle speaks about some basic aspects of deciding to live as Christ in our world. The first thing here may seem obvious, but it is a challenge at times for almost everyone; thus, we are to orient ourselves to our new position in life as people who reside in the light of the Gospel. We no longer have a home in the darkness of sin, and there will be activities, thoughts, places, and people that we need to leave behind if we desire to truly follow Christ. This process of relocating from the dark into the light of truth requires that we be clear headed, which requires us to leave behind the habits and the addictions of various types that have clouded our thinking in the past. Finally, Christ gives us tools to live well in this new orientation to the light with its revealing brightness. Christ grants to us faith in all that is eternal and a love that gave all so that we could know it and that is abundant so that we can pour it out onto our world. He also fills us with the hope of His victory over the sin that has darkened our days. In Christ we do truly belong to the light of God’s unceasing glory. .

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