Pondering Ephesians 5:15-20

This Week’s Passage15 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.

As I pondered this week I realize that I bit off more than I can chew. Verses 15-16 is about all i can handle because there is so much in those verses alone to think about. So next week will be a re-do of verses 17-20 for those who are pondering along with me.

The first thing I note is that I need to pay attention to context. Why does Paul say to “be very careful how you live”? It is because of what he said in verses 8-14 – “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the world.” We must remember that everywhere we go we incarnate the gospel. And all it takes is one act of NOT being careful and we give the gospel and God a bad taste in other people’s mouths. Not being careful is a major reason why the church of the living God has been labeled as nothing more than a club of hypocrites. Shame on us. There are things that we simply cannot do any longer once we pledge our allegiance to the Lord. Paul is not saying that we have a bunch of rules to keep. he played that religious game and it got him nowhere. Elsewhere he talks about the immense freedom that we have in the Lord. But it is a freedom not to do what we want but to do what is right and what will bring glory and fame to the name of Christ. When we live carefully and when we live wisely we understand that there are things that we cannot do and so we joyfully don’t do them.

But Paul also says there are things that we can do when we live carefully and wisely. We can “make the most of every opportunity.”. This means that we are to be an intentional people of action. I don’t know about you, but as I reflect on my days I recognize that there are a lot of missed and wasted opportunities. Paul reminds us that the days are evil. What does he mean? I think he wants us to remember that the evil one is on the attack. He is not being lazy when it comes to the business of subverting the work of the gospel by spreading lies and destroying the lives of believers. John 10:10 says that “he came to steal, kill, and destroy.” You don’t have to look very hard to see where he has had success. It is exactly because the days are evil that believers must make the most of the opportunities we are given. The evil one certainly is.

We are the instruments that God has chosen to use to spread the gospel and reach the nations. He did not ever say to his disciples, “Go into all the world…” and if that doesn’t work then we will go to Plan B. There is no Plan B. Therefore it behooves us to make the most of EVERY opportunity that comes our way.

“Father, would you open my eyes this week to all the opportunities that You put in front of me. And then fill me by Your Spirit with courage to act and with wisdom to respond in ways that that will bring You glory and advance the gospel.”

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 5:17-20

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