Pondering the Passages: Ephesians 5:15-20
This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 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 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Great passage. Lots to ponder. Here’s what jumped out at me. First a few words…
v.15 “very” – It’s as if Paul knows something that we haven’t quite grasped yet. If he had said “be careful” it would be like me telling my son not to get too close to the fire – something that should be obvious. “Be very careful” is more like stay far far away from the fire because of the the poisonous gases that are being emitted – something not obvious to the naked eye. It sounds like a plea to the Ephesian believers because Paul has watched so many fall by the spiritual wayside because they were not careful enough.
v.15 “then” – This is one of those words that is looking backwards. Backwards to what? Back to verses 13-14. Paul is reminding us that all our dark and dirty secrets are one day going to be exposed by the Light. If that were to happen TODAY what would be exposed in your life? Would there be shame? Would there be regret? Or do you have nothing to hide. Paul wants us to live with nothing to hide because one day nothing will be hidden. So “be very careful how you live.”
v.16 “every” – I get the feeling here that Paul has witnessed countless wasted opportunities. He wants the church, God’s people, to recognize that God is placing people right in front of their eyes every day – people who are needy, and discouraged, and harassed, and confused. People who need people who have the Lord. That’s you and me. We don’t need to go looking for opportunities; rather we need to take advantage of the opportunities that we already have.
And now one phrase that caught my attention…
v.17 “understand what the Lord’s will is” – Paul doesn’t leave us hanging here. We tend to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what God’s will is when He has spelled much of it out to us very clearly. The subsequent verses (all the way to the end of the book) are a case in point.
These verses explain that God’s will for believers include: being filled with His Spirit, being thankful, submitting to one another, being loving husbands, being obedient children, being fathers who train up their children, being obedient slaves, being non-threatening masters, being prepared for spiritual battle, and praying for the advance of the gospel. The point is that God’s will is not hard to discern if we are willing to read and obey God’s Word.
Funny story: A middle-aged farmer who had been desiring for years to be an evangelist was out working in the field one day when he decided to rest under a tree. As he looked into the sky he saw that the clouds seemed to form into the letters P and C. Immediately he hopped up, sold his farm, and went out to P-reach C-hrist, which he felt was God’s leading. Unfortunately, he was a horrible preacher. After one of his sermons a neighbor came forward and whispered in his ear, “Are you sure God wasn’t just trying to tell you to P-lant C-orn.”
God’s will is written in the Word – not in the sky or in the stars. (And yes, that is a hint about what I think about astrology).
So read the Word. Ponder the Word. Obey the Word. And you will be right dab in the middle of God’s will.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Philippians 4:4-8
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Philippians 4:6