I still am having a hard time getting over some of the language that Paul uses in his letter to the church at Ephesus. A good chunk of chapters 4 and 5 speaks to our relationship with others in the church and our relationship with those outside the church. In this section, he uses pretty emphatic phrases such as "let no" (4:29) "there must not be a hint" (5:3), "be very careful" (5:15; vs. be careful); coupled with a whole lot of "do not"s.
One of the points he is trying to make here is the distinction between those that call themselves children of God and are part of His family, and those that are not. Basically - if you call yourself a son of God, if you have been adopted into the family (chapter 1), then you should behave in a certain way. The behavior of a son of God should be distinct from the world around you.
Potential pitfall: Paul is not saying behave this so that you can be identified as a child of God, he says behave this way BECAUSE you are a child of God. This type of behavior is a natural artifact of being a son of God (see Gal 5:22-25 for the evidences of the Spirit being in us).
Here is my challenge.......... As I look through the instructions of Paul relative to how I am supposed to relate to the world around me (not partner with it; v. 7: expose darkness; v. 11) and how I really relate to the world, I see a disparity. If I am honest, there are times, lots of times, when in some way I "partner" with the world and fall into the deception that it will give me something in return (5:6). It is hard work to ferret out all the ways that I am entangled - even just a little bit - in the ways that the world says to behave vs. the way God wants me to.
The more I am entangled, the more I do not behave as "light". The more I am entangled, the less I look like a son of God. The more I am entangled, the more I look like the everyone else in the world and the luster, the glow, the radiance of God is not evident in my life (which means that others cannot see Jesus in and through me).
Paul is challenging me to do the hard work to see where I am entangled, repent and seek forgiveness from God and seek to change. Join me?