“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT
I’m sure we all take care in the way we live. After all, we are wired to keep ourselves safe from danger, and that basic instinct increases, and becomes more important somehow, as we get older. But there are adrenalin junkies who take on incredible tasks, performing feats of courage and ignoring danger. I’m thinking of people like mountain climbers, or single-handed Atlantic rowers. Perhaps those who fly hang gliders or head for the breakers to surf their way ashore. There are also those who engage in more insidious tasks, taking illicit drugs of unknown content or purity, or those who deliberately head for temptation, trying to determine how strong they really are.
But this is a worldly perspective. As Christian pilgrims, we take seriously Paul’s instructions about the way we live. Not for us the way of fools, exploring places where we should never go. Instead we must seek out the ways of wisdom. True wisdom has its source in God. In James 1:5, we read, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking”. There is another helpful verse in James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere”. Following this advice will help us live like wise pilgrims.
In our verse today, Paul continues by encouraging us to make the most of our lives. He was right, when he wrote this Epistle, by discerning that the days were evil. And our days in the 21st Century are still evil. Nothing has changed over the centuries. The media is full of reports of crime, drug taking, wars and so on. An evil world where our enemy, the devil, prowls around causing mayhem and distress. An evil world where sin is endemic. But as we read in a recent blog, we are light in this dark and evil world, and must be opportunistic in shining our light into dark places. We must be counter-cultural pilgrims walking against the tide of those of humanity who are sadly and unknowingly heading for a lost eternity. And we must be diligent in aligning our lives to the true Way, avoiding the false and evil ways of darkness. Thinking clearly. Remaining focused on our assignment, doing God’s work. True in His service.