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Two Things That Just Won’t Mix

The November, 2004 edition of the Reader's Digest magazine carried a funny little article on page 139 that brings to mind the old adage that some things just won't mix. The article posed the question WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS . . . followed by these questions and answers:

       a collie and a Lhasa Apso?  A Collapso, a dog that folds for easy transport.
       a Pointer and a Setter?  A Poinsetter, a traditional Christmas pet.
       a Rabbit and an Amoeba?  An Amoebit, an animal that can multiply and divide at the same time.
       a Lion and an Ocelot?  A Lialot, a political animal.
       a Chicken with a Pit Bull?  A Pit Bull.

That last entry especially reminds us some things just won't mix. You can put oil and water in the same vessel, but they will never bond or blend or mix. Ephesians 5:7-14 reminds us of two moral/spiritual entities that won't mix. In those eight verses two words repeatedly jump off the page — "darkness" and light." This passage boldly proclaims an unbending truth: as complete opposites, darkness and light will not and cannot dominate the same space. The take home point in the passage is, of course, that Christians should not seek to mix and blend in with the world and its sinful ways. After speaking to some of the sinful attitudes and practices of godless and immoral people (verses 3-6), Paul bluntly directs Christians, "Therefore do not be partakers with them" (vs 7). Why? "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (vs 8). He goes on to insist that Christians must be "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" (vs 10). We are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" (vs 11a). Instead, we must "expose them" (vs 11). Again, he explains why: "For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret" (vs 12). In ancient Ephesus, sin was every bit as out, loud, proud, and popular as it is in contemporary American culture, if not even more so.

It was not easy to be a Christian there. Paul freely admits that moral and spiritual darkness surrounded the Christians and sought to overcome them. But he also reminded them of an important and unchanging spiritual truth – light will not mix with darkness. And not only that, light is more powerful than darkness! That fact is proven true every morning when the sun rises and chases away the night. Or when a candle is lit or a lamp is switched on in a dark room. Through our union with Jesus in baptism we become "light in the Lord" (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 5:8). The church's task is not to just sit around in well-lit church buildings and curse the darkness in culture around us. We must not dull our own light by getting mixed up in the sin and immorality that dominates and darkens the lives of Christ-less people around us. But we need not fear the darkness or doubt the power of Christ and a godly Christian example! A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14), no matter how dark it gets around it. And neither can a church that shines the light of Christ by life and by lip. Let your light shine!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ