Draw The Line


The Two Sides of the Question

A simple graphic exercise to help make this clear…

Written by: Ray S.  Edited by: Phil D.

Passage: Ephesians 5:3-21

Focus:Find out what pleases the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:10.

I like visual aids.  And I like things simple.  May I suggest that you take a piece of paper and lay it on a table in front of you.

Vertical lineLet’s suppose that paper represents the moral and spiritual scope of the entire universe.

Now draw a line down the middle from top to bottom.  In the left section write DARKNESS.  In the right section write LIGHT.  Then in the left section write GOD’S WRATH (from verse 6) and in the right section WHAT PLEASES THE LORD (from verse 10).  Maybe you could also label it GOD’S LOVE.

There you are—an overview of the entire universe from God’s perspective.  It’s as simple as that.  There are only two regions.

NOW…. the simple question to ask yourself is…. WHICH REALM or REGION DO I WANT TO OCCUPY?

It really is a matter of choice, you know.

If you wanted to carry the graphic illustration further, you could write in the left section all the FOOTHOLDS that Satan can create in your life through temptations….(e.g. GREED,  LUST, ENVY, COVETOUSNESS, ANGER, BITTERNESS, UNFORGIVENESS and so on).  In the right you could write out verse 9: FOR THE FRUIT OF THE LIGHT CONSISTS IN ALL GOODNESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND TRUTH.” 

I like to draw an outline representation of the Bible around the edges of the right section to demonstrate that God’s Word sets the borders for the Kingdom of God. Stepping outside that border means to step into you-know-where.

You can go on and on with this illustration.  I reckon that it’s a worthwhile exercise.

One aspect of its value is that it helps to achieve the point of 2 Corinthians 4:18:  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Although I’m adding length to this composition, I’d like to finish off here by quoting our entire reading for today from “The Message” (…it’s a paraphrase or simplified re-telling of the Bible by Eugene Peterson.  Perhaps I could have done this but I’ll use his words here.)

See if it helps you, as it does me, to expand your practical application.

“Don’t allow love to turn to lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed.  Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, Christians have better uses for language than that.  Don’t talk dirty or silly.  That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style.  Thanksgiving is our dialect.

            “You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations of idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.

            “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.

            “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.

            “Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness.  Expose these things for the sham they are.  It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see.  Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

            “Wake up from your sleep,

            Climb out of your coffins:

            Christ will show you the light!”

So watch your step.  Use your head.  Make the most of every chance you get.  These are desperate times!

            “Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly.  Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

            “Don’t drink too much wine.  That cheapens your life.  Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him.  Sing hymns instead of drinking songs!  Sing songs from your heart to Christ.  Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.”

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

“Don’t try to grow an oak tree in a flower pot.”

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