“Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-20 NRSV)
Be careful how you live. Listen to God’s call on your heart. Do this in constant prayer to God who knows what it means to be wise. With God, you’ll gain wisdom. God will place wise people in your path from whom you can learn. Learn from your mistakes. Gain wisdom through your years of living.
Be careful how you live. Make the most of God’s time. Grab up all the opportunities you can to be a participant in Christ’s work on earth. Know that evil exists in the world and we encounter it daily. Evil comes in the form of greed and “me first” attitudes and hubris and lying. Evil dances before us, enticing us to put other things between us and our love of Jesus and his way of life. Evil cuts down life that is meant to be lived to the fullest. Evil sharpens its tools on the rocky debris of desperate living and the injustice of poverty and ignorance and oppression.
In the noise and chatter and bullying, find God in the silence. Look for God in the chaos. Wait for God in the messiness of living. Because when you do, you’ll know and understand how God is calling you to live and to be.
Don’t get drunk with wine. Wine deadens our senses to the unpleasantness in the world. Wine is anything that that closes us off from those who are hurting right in front of us. Allow God to open you up to the reality of evil in God’s good creation.
And though we live in evil times and we see evil get a stronghold in the lives that surround us; even though we struggle with God to gain insight and wisdom and often fall short; even though we sometimes accept worldly wisdom over God’s way, know that evil doesn’t get the final word. Know that God is ultimately in charge, and uses evil for good. God is in charge and “… all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to [God’s] purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
We are free to live in wisdom, discerning God’s call on our lives. We are free to make the most of God’s time. We are free to open our eyes to all the ugliness in the world that breaks God’s heart as well as ours.
In that freedom, we gather as Christ’s community called out of the world, “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing[ing] and mak[ing] music from [our] heart[s] to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father…” (Ephesians 5:19-20a NIV)
“Grow up in my son,” God tells us. “I’ll help you in the task. It’ll take a long time, so be patient. It’ll take your entire life to figure it out and even then you won’t have all the answers.
“Grow up in my Son,” God invites. “He’s seen the worst that this evil world can throw at us. In the end his love wins and you can count on this powerful truth.
“Stay in touch,” God admonishes. “Stay in touch with me and know what’s going on around you. Stay in touch with your fellow disciples, whoever and wherever they may be. Help them, love them, be kind to them and forgive them.
“Worship me,” God instructs. “For in worshiping me you’ll learn that I’m not the distraction from evil, but the way through these evil days.”
All glory and honor be to God.