“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…” (Ephesians 5:15)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:15-17
Standing firmly against life in the darkness is not something that happens without effort on our part. True, we cannot find the inner moral strength – the desire for holiness – to do that on our own. Only God’s grace can provide that. Nevertheless, there are things we have to do.
Paul mentions several of them in this section. We are to make every effort “to discern what is pleasing to the Lord,” or put another way, to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:10, 17). Then, we are to “look carefully” about the way we live, being concerned to live not as “unwise, but as wise” people (v. 15).
That means we cannot drift as uncritical, unthinking people, doing what we feel like at the moment or following others in the way they live. No, we are to exercise wisdom, choosing our path deliberately in the light of what we know to be good and right and true.
Paul continues: “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (v. 16). Again, the apostle paints a black picture of life in the world. He describes the “days” in which his readers were living as “evil.” They were dominated by works of evil and ideas and thoughts that were evil. Given such an environment – which is the same for us today – it was essential that Christians “make the best use of time.”
This is another way of saying that we cannot allow ourselves to drift or “go with the flow.” Not only is our surrounding world evil, but time is given to us to use only once, and we have to be very intentional about how we use it. And that is always to be governed by what we know “the will of the Lord is” (v. 17). As much as it lies within us, we are to use our days and hours in ways we know will please him.
These concerns are reflected in Paul’s prayer for the Colossian Christians. In a letter written to them, he shares this prayer he prayed for them: “And so, from the day we heard [of your faith in Christ Jesus and love for all the saints], we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9, 10).
Note the following: Paul prays that they might (a) be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (b) that as a result of that, they might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, (c) and in doing so, please him, (d) as they bear fruit (the fruit of light) in every “good” work.
How we need to make this our prayer as well.
- Are you as watchful and careful as you could be about the way we use your time?
- Is the goal of your life to do that which pleases the Lord?
– Andrew Young