15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV)
Paul continues on with his instructions for Kingdom living in today’s passage. In fact, if we were to choose a title for today’s passage, we could call it “Wise Living in a Foolish World”.
In yesterday’s passage, Paul talked about living in the light of Christ. Today, Paul says because we have the light of Christ, we don’t have to stumble around in the darkness anymore. Paul strongly exhorts us to be careful how we live.
Verse 15 starts out with a strong message. When we read verse 15 in the KJV, it becomes even stronger:
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, “
The idea of walking circumspectly is to think about both the circumstances and the consequences of what we are about to do before we do them. This includes our attitudes, our speech, our actions, even our facial expressions, all of which are windows to our soul and express what is going on in our hearts. This is not to over-think our lives, but more to stop and think, and not automatically react. The KJV goes on to say that we are not to live as fools, but as wise men and women before a Holy God.
What does it mean to live as fools? The book of Proverbs gives us clear instruction on wise vs. foolish living. In fact, the NIV translation uses the world “fool” 72 times. So what does it mean to live as fools? First, it’s our sin nature – it’s the way we enter this world (Proverbs 22:15). When a person becomes of age and makes their own decisions, foolishness is living in practical atheism, with no thought of God as we make decisions and go about our daily life (Psalm 14:1). James also warns us not to exclude or omit the Lord in our day-to-day decisions and life (James 4:13-17).
Paul tells us to live intentionally, to make the most of every day, not for ourselves, but for the Lord. We can never recapture the time that was wasted – it is gone forever, lost to eternity.
Paul goes on to give a very practical example of living intentionally. He says not to get drunk, but instead, to be filled with God’s Spirit. As followers of Christ, God puts His Holy Spirit inside us when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior. The question is, will we step down off the throne of our lives and let Him be King, to lead and direct us?
Paul says that when we are filled with God’s Spirit, when we let Him rule our lives, that what comes out of our mouth will be praise to the Lord, and encouragement to one another. Paul says that our words will be like a beautiful song, as:
- a psalm (Scripture set to music)
- a hymn (praise and worship addressed directly to God)
- or a spiritual song (praise and worship about God), all about God
All of these are in thanksgiving to the Lord for everything He has done for us, and is to us.
In other words, if someone or something bumps into the teacup of our life, what sloshes over the edge, onto the saucer? Praise, worship, and pure joy to honor the Lord, or something else that is on our hearts and minds?
We choose what goes into the teacup of our lives. When life’s trials, tribulations, and circumstances happen, we see what is in our life by what comes out.
May we choose wisely today.