“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)
Whenever a new year begins we are surrounded by people who want to give us advice on how to live. From motivational speakers to talk-show hosts, from magazine articles to the latest “7 Ways To…” book to hit the shelf, everyone, everywhere seems to want to give us advice on how to live a better life.
But what does the Bible have to say? Does it give us any advice for the year ahead? Yes, absolutely. The above verses are one such place. Let’s look a little closer at them and discover God’s advice for the year ahead.
The first admonition is to be careful how we walk. The Greek here is not merely talking about your physical walking, that you be careful where you tread, such as stepping out into a busy road without looking, rather it refers to your life in general – how you live.
Another interesting thing to note is how verse 15 reads when translated literally from the Greek, “Therefore, observe how accurately you walk”. Paul’s command here is expressing a precise observation of our lives. That we don’t walk through this life blindly, but that we consciously observe how we live. But more than that, he is commanding us to walk accurately. To be careful that we take the right steps in life, and in the right direction.
And in case one is uncertain as to what that means, Paul spells it out in the next phrase, “not as unwise, but as wise” [literal translation]. We tend to call people wise too loosely these days. If a person does well in an exam for example, or wins large amounts of money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, we say that they were wise. In those cases what we really mean is that they are knowledgeable, because there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom – knowledge is knowing facts, while wisdom is the application of those facts.
But more than that, in Biblical terms wisdom is the application of our knowledge and understanding of the things of God – to walk in His ways, to apply His teachings to our everyday lives.
So this is Paul’s command here: we are to apply God’s laws, standards and principles to our lives – that we walk according to the counsel He has given us through His Word, and we are to do it accurately – observing how we walk and being precise in our applying God’s commands.
But in what areas? Well Paul spells it out for us in the verses that follow in that he gives instructions on how to walk wisely in seven key areas of our lives, providing a motivation in each area. Those areas are: Time-management, purpose, spirituality, speech, worship, thanksgiving and submission (We will examine these more closely in the weeks to come).
Are You Being Careful?
We are living in a society that hates rules, that thinks we should just love each other and not worry about rules and restrictions. Even Christians tend to put the love of God above the commands He has given us.
The question I have for you is, does that describe your attitude and way of life – ignoring God’s rules and commands? Or is your attitude more like what Paul has commanded – living carefully – observing how you live, making sure that you accurately apply God Word to your life? I pray the latter describes you.
Just a Thought!
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