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Christian Union: The Magazine
February 10, 2022

"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness..."

By Matt Bennett, Christian Union Founder and CEO

Editor’s note: The following article was part of a series of prayer devotionals for one of Christian Union Day and Night’s 2021 national fasts.

And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. - Ephesians 5:10-14

Harvard graduate and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is more valuable than a college education.” President Roosevelt probably knew what verse 10 in Ephesians chapter 5 was driving at—where readers are urged to work hard to discern and learn what is pleasing to our God.  Applying effort to this worthy task is far more valuable than is commonly realized.

close up of open bible with a cup of coffee for morning devotion on wooden table with window light

There are attitudes and actions of Christians which please God, filling His heart with joy, and of course there’s the opposite: attitudes and actions of Christians that displease, grieve and even anger Him. Some of these are listed in verses 3 and 4, including sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, filthiness and crude joking. Like all worthy pursuits, effort expended in the endeavor of discovering what pleases God is worth the hard work. In this context, the apostle Paul provides an example of something that pleases God, which is the exposing of sinful behavior.

Identifying and shining light on ungodly conduct and activity pleases God and is the responsibility of children of the light, that is, Christians. This includes conduct which the world also finds unacceptable such as theft, child abuse, racism and denigration of women, but additionally includes behavior that the world finds acceptable, but is offensive to God such as false religions, greed, abortion, fornication and homosexuality.

Because of the fear of man, it’s tempting to stay quiet (John 12:42), as the negative consequences of exposing wickedness brings ridicule, derision and rejection for the man or woman of God. Yet, this is the calling of followers of Jesus Christ, and by His grace and strength, we do not want to deny Him when we are afraid (Mark 14:66-72), but to glorify Him by testifying to His righteousness and the righteous life to which He calls all of humanity. 

It’s worth letting the Holy Spirit search your heart to see if you’ve been exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, or have instead for various reasons, not pleased God by refraining. You will find fellow Christians may chide you for pleasing God in this way, but sadly even Christians are sometimes taken captive by the enemy to do his will, and don’t even know it (2 Timothy 2:26).  

Prayer: Dear Lord, I repent of not exposing unfruitful works of darkness, and ask You to show me where and how to be faithful to You in this regard. I know that You will give me faith, wisdom and protection as I follow Your will, even as I may experience rejection, derision and malicious accusations. I love You and am honored to be Your servant. In Jesus’ name, amen.

RELATED: Want to go deeper in your faith? Click here to receive a free download of Christian Union’s "Seeking God Lifestyle” Bible Course Manual.