“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As a kid, I always had issues with crossing the street. Now, don’t get me wrong, the walking part wasn’t the issue, but the paying attention to the present danger…that was my issue. I was often so caught up in conversation, or in the fun of playing, or in the distractions of the bugs and nature that, before I knew it, I had wandered from the safety of the sidewalk into the middle of the road completely unaware. And like it was yesterday, I can hear the voice of my mom echoing in my mind, “Be Careful”! When I wasn’t careful I was in danger, but when I was careful, when I was aware, I was safe and a world of adventure awaited me.
This came to mind when I read Paul’s exhortation to, “Be very careful…”. He knew that if they weren’t careful danger lurked nearby, and if they weren’t careful they would find themselves right in the middle of it before they even knew it. This danger he warned them of wasn’t cars on the streets but was unwise living that would lead to sin and ultimately to their destruction. It was a choice they would have to choose.
Just like my mom’s voice echoes in my head, Paul’s voice now reverberates from the pages of my Bible as he shouts, “Be careful”! Be careful to choose wise living by:
- Making the most of every opportunity: When we make the most of every opportunity to encourage our children, to bless our spouses, and to pray as a family it transforms our homes. When we make the most of every opportunity to use our free time to sit with God in prayer and devotions, to serve those around us, to live out our callings without compromise it prevents us from stumbling into sin and unwise choices.
- Understanding the Lord’s will: Knowing His plans, His commands, and His promises leads us to the life of wisdom and right living.
- Not getting drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery: Alcohol causes us to lose control; lose control of our right thinking, our motivation for obedience, our Kingdom perspective, and so much more, and when we lose control we find ourselves seeking pleasure and making choices that lead to our sin.
- Being filled with the Spirit and speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and songs: In contrast to filling our stomachs with alcohol that leads to sin, Paul encourages us to fill our souls with the Holy Spirit that leads to fruitful living. Beyond that, worship is a key part of wise living as it takes our eyes off of sin and reminds us of our identity and calling in Him.
- Giving thanks: Complaining comes very naturally to me, so I need to be intentional about giving thanks. In fact, complaining does no one any good, yet a posture of praise rights our perspective! When we choose to be grateful for the Giver and the gift everything changes.
Jesus, I want to choose wise living, and I need Your help. May I not get distracted by the things of this world, by my emotions, or by my desires so that I can steer clear from the danger of temptation and sin. Help me to be very careful that I might not find myself in the path of sinners unknowingly and to make the most of every opportunity to please and honor You! In Your name, Amen!