Why Be Good?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Have you ever asked yourself the question: Why be good? Perhaps you found yourself doing battle with enchanting temptation. The magnetism of sin was drawing you into its clutches. Part of you knew that you should do the right thing. But part of you wondered why. Why be good when sin seems so appealing? Why be good when those who traffic in badness seem to have more fun? Why be good when your friends promise you that a little bit of sin won't hurt you? Why be good when God will forgive?
Ephesians 5:6 supplies one answer to this question. We should be good because "God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient." As we saw in last Thursday's reflection, the wrath of God isn't just his displeasure. It is God's righteous judgment of our sin. God doesn't wink at our misdeeds. He judges them as well as those who do them.
"But," one might respond, "I have trusted Christ for my salvation. I have received God's grace through faith. I believe God will forgive me when I sin. So why should I worry about being good, if Christ has delivered me from God's wrath?"
Ephesians 5:6-8 offers another answer to this question, a stunning and expansive answer, a life-changing answer. We should not disobey God. We should not be partners with deceptive and disobedient people. In a nutshell, we should avoid the bad and do what is good. Why? "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (5:8).
We'll unpack the abundant truth of this verse in future reflections. For now, I'd like you to notice its striking answer to the "Why be good?" question. It says: Be good because of who you are now. Be good because you are no longer darkness. Be good because now you are light in the Lord. When you live as a child of light, you will be good.
The rationale for being good in Ephesians 5:8 doesn't point to some threat if you fall short. It doesn't promise a reward if you excel. Rather, this verse grounds your goodness in your very identity as light, as a child of the light. The "ought" of what you should do is grounded upon the "is" of who you are. So, when you're tempted to do what you know to be wrong, when you wonder why you should do good that which feels difficult or inconvenient, remember this: You are light in the Lord! You are a child of light! So be who you are!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever wonder why you should be good? When? What tempts you to do what you know to be wrong? What helps you answer the "Why be good?" question? Do you think of yourself as light? As a child of light? What difference might it make if you saw yourself in this way?
PRAYER: Gracious God, you know everything about me. You know when I'm tempted to do what's wrong. You know when I'd rather not do what's right. Sometimes, Lord, I just don't want to be good. I hate to put it so bluntly, but you know it's true, and there's no point mincing words with you.
O Lord, your Word tells me that I am light, a child of light. Here is a compelling reason to be good, to live in a way that is right. I need to be in action of who I am, in fact, I should live out my new identity in you. Help me, Lord, when I am tempted to live in the ways of darkness. Help me to embrace who I am in you, to live as a child of the light. Amen.
Aligning Talents with Dreams
This article is part of a series at The High Calling on Aligning Talents with Dreams. We’re talking about dreams—both big and small—that flow from an intimate relationship with God. And our talents? It’s the way God’s made us, though we may have to sharpen our raw talents into skills. Ideally, we’re equipped with talents to support the dream we’re given. But often, life’s timing isn’t perfect. Maybe we’re waiting to discover the dream, or maybe we’re waiting to develop the talent more fully. What’s it like when our talents and dreams converge? How can we get there? What can we do in-between, when we’re waiting? Join us as we discuss our God-given talents and dreams. Why not encourage others to join the conversation by sending these articles through email, social media or jumping into the comments at our website?
Featured image above by Cristina L. F.. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.