Ephesians 5:15-16 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
The word for ‘carefully’ or ‘circumspectly’ means correctly, accurately or consistently. The meaning is that we should be aware of God’s boundaries and consistently and perfectly walk in them. We should live according to God’s precepts in small matters as well as great matters, living the gospel, not just professing it with our mouths.
The unwise man follows his passions wherever they may lead, eventually ending up in spiritual death. However, the wise man who has been taught of God literally “buys opportunities” for doing good for as long as they can.
This present season of grace will have an end; then we will have no more opportunities to use our talents for God in this life.
Perhaps in the past we have misspent our time, but now we must be diligent to use it for God’s glory.
If the season of grace were to end today, where do you see yourself? Are you happy with the way you spent your time and resources? Or are there things you still want to accomplish for the Kingdom of Heaven? If so, do them now! Don’t become distracted by the things of the world; keep your focus on the heavenly realm!
Ephesians 5:17-Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Paul wants every believer to know God’s purposes for himself and for the world. When we know his will, we can work with him to bring about his purposes on earth; we will know how to use every opportunity we have for the glory of Jesus.
I sometimes hear people complain that they do not know God’s will for their lives. If that is you, I will encourage you to begin by examining the scriptures. You’ll find that God has already made his will known. For example, we have been given a clear mandate to spread the gospel to the world.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Fortunately, God has given us his Holy Spirit to enable us for this task.
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Also, we have been given a clear mandate to live as righteous people.
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
We have also been informed that the greatest commandment or the greatest thing God requires us to do, is to love him.
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
So let’s put this all together. God’s will is not some difficult, unsearchable mystery. He has clearly revealed his will in his Word. First and foremost, we are to love Him with all of our hearts and minds. In addition, we are to love our neighbors and preach the gospel to all who have not heard the good news.
If you know Jesus, you are qualified to do this. You have access to the Holy Scriptures. You have access to the Holy Spirit who empowers you. You have a measure of faith that God gave you. He has promised to be with you the whole time.
Romans 12:3 – …God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Hebrews 13:5 …I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
So basically, you need to get started. Find an area of ministry and get involved. As you step out in faith, God will open the next door and then the next, or show you the next step to take and the next, but you have to start somewhere.
As you begin to walk in the revealed will of God, or the part of God’s will that you know, you will be ready to pray that you become filled with spiritual wisdom and knowledge of God’s will for the unique dispensation or circumstance in which you find yourself. That’s what Paul did for the Colossians.
Colossians 1:9-10 – For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
If you are truly seeking God’s will, you will find it, but it is imperative that you begin by living in the knowledge that you have. You are going to need growth and strength for the next level. That growth and strength are provided by experience in the present. So, pray for guidance. Equip yourself with the word. Then go out and minister to the lost!
Ephesians 5:18-21 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in Psalm and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
Paul continues to offer practical life applications by warning the Ephesians against drunkenness.
Drunkenness is a very, very bad thing. People will do and say things when they are drunk that they would never do while sober. The worst thing about drunkenness is that it is a gateway for other sins. Those under its influence are led into sexual sins, rage/anger, abuse of others, theft, destruction, even murder. How many deaths have resulted from drunk drivers?
The worst thing about drunkenness is that it is a gateway for other sins.
However, in this particular passage Paul seems to be referring to the social aspect of drinking, namely, the exhilarating influence of wine (or any alcohol) consumed with company, which gives a temporary rush of joy or cheer. Back in Paul’s day, the Gentiles worshipped a false idol called Bacchus. He was considered the god of wine. They would gather in groups to sing rousting hymns to him and drink until they were drunk. Other sins then followed, but the root cause of it all was that sense of social camaraderie and joy. [FYI, the same Greek word used here for drunkenness was used in the parable of the prodigal son. In that passage, it was translated as “riotous living”].
At any rate, Paul instructs the Ephesians that instead of using wine/alcohol to cheer themselves, they should open their hearts to the Holy Spirit. This is wise instruction for believers today as well. The Holy Spirit will fill our hearts and give us an eternal joy that is not destructive. In fact, his joy gives us benefits. The spirit of joy will lead us into praise and worship of God. Praise and worship usher us into the Lord’s presence. In his presence, we find everything we will ever need to live fulfilling lives on earth, plus he gives us eternal life!
Ephesians 5:20-21 – giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul closes this section with yet another call to Christian unity, this time centering on how we should properly submit to one another. It is a topic that is discussed in the remainder of chapter 5, so we will look at it more next time.
For now, I want to encourage you to spend some time this week meditating on walking in love, living within God’s boundaries for us, and walking a wise Christian walk. Do you know God’s will for your life? Are you pursuing it with all your energy?