By Scott Brown
First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:15-21
Paul, here, encourages believers to be careful to walk wisely. What exactly does it look like to walk wisely? Wisdom is the blessing Solomon chose which pleased God. Wisdom is offered freely to any and all believers who would ask for it in faith according to James. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of it in Proverbs.
What is wisdom, then? J.I. Packer describes it by saying, “To live wisely you have to be clear-sighted and realistic, ruthlessly so, in looking at life as it is.
Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses.” Wisdom, then, is being able to see things clearly as they truly are and being able to respond rightly to them.
By God’s grace, let us see this world, ourselves, and others rightly and “ruthlessly realistic.”
Seeing our world as broken, fleeting, and evil is wise. This realization causes us not to waste our time amassing comforts or indulging in the passing pleasures it offers.
We must see that this life is short and these days are evil so we must do all we can while we can by whatever means we can to win all to Jesus we can. Let us be “wise to win souls” in these evil days.
Next, may God make us wise in how we see ourselves. Paul says that we should avoid being drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.
No matter how you slice it, being filled with alcohol causes a person to have less self-control. It is foolish and dangerous to fill yourself with a poison that has wrecked and ruined so many lives.
Walking wisely means willingly choosing not to be under the control of alcohol but under the control of the Spirit of God. I want to take a liberty to go beyond that, though.
Perhaps alcohol’s not a problem for you but you’re controlled by anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, shame, selfishness, pride, or anything else in this life. God won’t fill an already full vessel so let’s be wise to see these things for what they are, repent of them and be controlled by the Spirit.
Finally, Paul describes how we can walk wisely toward others. We walk wisely when we are filled with praise and thankfulness to the Lord.
As I’m overflowing with gratitude for the great grace and mercy He’s so lavishly poured out upon me, it changes the way I walk toward other people as well.
As I submit myself gladly before King Jesus, I find it natural to submit myself to those He has put in my life. I surrender my rights, my preferences, and even freedoms in Christ for the sake of my brothers and sisters.
All this we do as a worship of God and a wisdom from God. B&R — Brown is pastor of First Baptist Church, Waverly.