By Dennis Watson
“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” (Ephesians 5:6-9)
Roy Riegels is a name that is famous in sports circles, although he played football 90 years ago. Riegels played for the University of California Bears in the 1929 Rose Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow jackets. California was winning by the score of 7 to 6, when Riegels picked up a fumble and began to run with the ball.
In the midst of evading tacklers, Riegels lost his bearings, and began to run towards his team’s goal line rather than the opponent’s goal line. After getting over their shock about what was happening, Riegels’ teammates pursued him as we he was running in the wrong direction, and tackled him near his own goal line.
But Riegels’ blunder ultimately cost his team the game. That’s because the offensive team was then pushed back into the end zone, resulting in a safety and a gain of two points by the opposing team. Riegels’ team lost that 1929 Rose Bowl game by a score of 8 to 7.
I tell you that story because all of us to some degree have experienced ‘running in the wrong direction” like Roy Riegels did in the 1929 Rose Bowl.
Paul writes in Ephesians 5:8, “One you were full of darkness.”
In other words, at one time in our lives (and maybe even now for some who are reading this devotion) we’ve been going the wrong way, pursuing the wrong goals, living the wrong kind of life, living in darkness. If we haven’t or if we don’t turn around, we’re going to wind up costing ourselves and and those around us in great ways.
What does it mean to be “living the darkness” and what are the costs associated with “living in the darkness”?
“Living in the darkness” means living by the ways of the world, living with the beliefs and values espoused by the world.
According to the Bible, “living in the darkness” keeps us from the presence, peace, power, purposes and provision of God. “Living in the darkness” causes us to be subject to the anger of God (Ephesians 5:6).
Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:8-9: “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”
In other words, we don’t have to “live in the darkness” as we once did (or perhaps currently do). We can “live as people of light” as we turn to the Lord and trust in Him. And as we “live in the light” (rather than “in the darkness”) God will produce good, right and true things in, for and through our lives.
So, if you’ve been “living in the darkness,” turn around.
Recognize that you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Repent for going in that direction in your life and return to the Lord.
If you’ve been “living in the light,” living by godly values, keep on living that way – trusting in the Lord to give you the direction, strength and help that you need. “Live as people of light” and you will experience God’s best in your life in the coming days.
Dennis Watson is lead pastor of Celebration Church in the New Orleans area.