My last blog post touched on the issue of living your life in service to God and others as our primary impetus for choosing a profession rather than what pleases us the most. I argued that joy should be, and will be, the by-product of serving God in the best way you can. I would like to follow that with a discussion from Ephesians 5. Paul writes,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Christians, if you claim this title, must watch the manner in which they live. This is a must, for we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. We have been given new hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, and if this is true, then we must leave the old life and embrace the new life, a godly life. William Hendriksen has written a great commentary on Ephesians, and he says this about how Christians must walk, “That is the only effective way of verifying one’s own state of salvation, exposing the unfruitful works of darkness, calling the workers to repentance, and doing all this to the glory of God.” Hendriksen does not mean that a person is saved by living a godly life, but rather by living a godly life one can have assurance of their salvation.
We are called to be wise, not unwise. The unwise are those people who have no vision in the work of salvation by grace through faith. You have seen these people. You wonder, “Why in the world would he/she ever do something like that? Don’t they see the damage they are doing, not only to themselves, but to those around them?” These people do not know the highest goal, the godly life, and therefore do not care to have insight into how to live in the light of the Jesus Christ. The wise on the other hand live according to the life everlasting. The fleeting things of the world are placed in their proper position. The NFL is not the most important thing, but rather the Word of God. The newest iPhone is not necessary for fulfillment. Having the largest savings account, driving a corvette, impressing those around us, chasing after culture, are not the most important, and in fact could be the most damaging. The wise make the best use of their time.
The wise who live godly lives make the best use of the time given to them, not by waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself, but are in fact making opportunities. We are to continue to show the power and glory of the gospel, exposing evil, doing good, and as Hendriksen says, “obtaining assurance of salvation for themselves, strengthening the fellowship, winning the neighbor for Christ, and through it all glorifying God.” Paul, writing to the church, is not trying to motivate us by using guilt. Rather, as D.A. Carson writes of Philippians 1.9-11, “…if our love abounds more and more, shaped all the while by knowledge and moral insight, then these are the kinds of choices we will be wanting to make [the choices of a godly life]–and we will be wanting to make them well. They are the kinds of choices that cannot be made on the basis of mere law. They spring from a heart transformed by God’s grace.”
We are to do this, live godly lives, because the days are evil. This hardly needs to be noted. Turn on the news, read a newspaper, look at articles posted on the internet. Evil, sin and its pervasive effects are certainly a present reality.
We are to be wise in the times of foolishness, and godly in the times of evil by understanding the will of the Lord. To understand the will of the Lord, we need to know what He says. If you want to understand the will of the Lord in your marriage, read the Bible. If you want to understand the will of the Lord in your job, read the Bible. If you want to understand the will of the Lord as a parent, read the Bible. If you want to understand the will of the Lord so that you may make the best use of your time in the days of evil, read the Bible.
“The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever”