“These are desperate times!” These words from Ephesians 5:16 in the Message translation ring true even today. We live in a desperate time in human history, regardless where in the world we find ourselves right now.
So much pain, loss and fear-inducing events swirl around us. Even with feet firmly planted in Christ, believers can get shaken. The time is short, and we don’t know how long we have left on this side of Glory. But with the right perspective, God’s Word offers us a focus and purpose to navigate this time well and for His glory.
“Watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!” Ephesians 5:11-16 exhorts us.
How can we walk wisely in this time? How do we make the best use of the brief time we have been given on this earth, even though the days are evil?
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians (and really to all believers because this letter was to be circulated and is the inspired Word of God, so it is aimed even towards us as we begin 2022) challenges them with three “therefores” of how…
1.THEREFORE, HE SAYS, DO NOT BE FOOLISH BUT INSTEAD UNDERSTAND WHAT GOD’S WILL IS.
We spend too much time hemming and hawing God’s will, when His Word is actually quite clear.
Desire to discern God’s will? Fill you mind with His Word and it will be made clear to you. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
When we spend time in His Word, our real trouble isn’t to know His will, it’s to be willing to do what it says: forgive, rejoice, trust Him, pray, live at peace, submit to others. The action is harder than the head knowledge. Ask me how I know. I often prefer He conform to my will but when I concede to His, there is real peace and joy. So how am I discerning and obeying His will?
2. PAUL ALSO EXHORTS US TO THEREFORE NOT GET DRUNK ON WINE BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.
Rather than get intoxicated with the things of the world, our time is to be spent getting filled with the Spirit of God.
When I spend more time on social media, the news and filling up with what numbs me, I miss out on being filled with that which actually satisfies me. The only One who actually satisfies is willing to fill us when we come to Him empty and be still before Him, laying our broken junk at His feet and spend time in His Word.
How will we know we are filled with the Spirit?
We will overflow, as it says in Ephesians 5, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in our hearts. My singing is scary for the listener but when I have been with Jesus in His Word and gotten filled, the melody of my heart to the Lord overflows in kindness, grace and serving others with love.
We look like Jesus in our actions if we are filled with Jesus. We look like the world if we are letting that fill us and numb us. So where are we going to seek to be filled?
3. PAUL ENCOURAGES US TO GIVE THANKS ALWAYS AND FOR EVERYTHING TO GOD THE FATHER IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.
Life can be so burdensome, even assaulting to our soul at times.
But there is always something we can give thanks for.
The God of Creation came to earth and gave Himself for us so we might have intimacy, security and peace with Him for eternity. Do we need anything else to give thanks for? And yet we have more, far more.
When we spend time in gratitude, looking for the gifts around us to thank God for, we will actually see His love and presence with us in so many little ways throughout the day. That perspective in these evil days is a priceless balm for our depleted souls. So what can we give thanks for right now?
The time is short. How will we spend it? As the foolish, unwise one who stumbles in their drunkenness looking for what never satisfies; or as the wise discerning one who is not shaken by the evil times but is stable, grateful and even peace-filled knowing One is coming at just the right time.
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