Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, gives us clear advice upon how we should live.
In the fifth chapter we have six verses, two do s, two don'ts and two more do s.
Do live as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. I love the KJV which says 'see that you walk circumspectly'. Wisdom is something which has its origin in the fear of God, not that we should be afraid of a loving father, but we stand in awe, in deep reverence and respect for the almighty creator of the universe. He, by definition, knows best. He is the author of wisdom, and if anyone lacks wisdom, let him or her ask of God.
Circumspectly, does not mean following what was often my example, dashing in where angels fear to tread. It means thinking around the whole circumference, inside and out, allowing our decisions to be well informed and advised.
The letter talked about those days being evil. Evil has always been present in our human world. It would seem that it happens in waves, some days are more evil than others. The tendency in the world today marks deterioration. Here are some indicators which must be inter related.
1. A turning away from God. The arrogance to say God does not exist, or if He does, we have Him shut into the little box which we want Him in. The fool looks to themselves for wisdom, saying they know best, better than the Almighty himself. Morality is in danger of being set by the mood of the day.
I love the film Matilda, based on the novel by Roald Dhal. The character Miss Trunchbull says 'I am smart you are dumb,
I'm big you and are little
so I am right and you are wrong
and there is nothing you can do about it...
because..... in this school.... and in this classroom, I am God.'
Some commentaries suggest that the flooding of the world in the time of Noah and the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah happened because of this type of mindset.
The resulting evils had affronted the God who created human beings so that he could love them.
2. We think that can decide what truth is and what truth isn't. I have heard it said "It is true because I just know." So history can be re written to make it say whatever we want. Everything is about us and what we want. Hence we may say that good is now evil and evil things good.
3. The theology of the world may tell you."God doesn't mind". If it feels good then it is alright, even if the depths of our heart tell us it can't be. With this mindset pornography (for example) is put across our screens as a form of entertainment. If it makes money, it serves its purpose. Wrong thoughts and actions will be influenced by this. Evil does not seem to mind what we get hooked on, as long as it can bring suffering, misery and destruction.
4. Persecution is becoming more commonplace across the world.
Unless our world receives God's wisdom, we will continue to reap what we are sowing.
Do not be foolish, that is the way of the world. Learn God's wisdom, get to know what His will is so that you can do it and reap all of the rewards which come with it. The first psalm acknowledges that respect of God brings safety, but the wicked will be cut down.
Paul says, ' Don't get drunk with wine that is debauchery. Debauchery is an interesting word which is not in everyday use. It means excessive and gluttonous consumption. There is a sense of entitlement which enables some to waste away on something, invariably at the expense of others. So don't get drunk drowning your sorrows, diverting your pain, but be filled with the Spirit.
The letter to the Corinthians says, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit" So your body belongs to God and therefore should be treated as such.
In the last weeks we have studied Jesus, the bread of life. Unlike cooked bread which takes away the hunger for a while, the bread of life satisfies the soul forever. It is not proof spirit which we seek and only has temporal effect. Paul is saying be filled with the Holy Spirit and be satisfied now, and for all time to come. The joy, excitement, love and the wonder in looking on God with gratitude and praise can be all yours. This is God's special gift to you.
Paul says sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Make a melody in your hearts to the Lord. Bless Him with these songs; they will bless you and others too. Give thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Make this choice, taking this moment to be in communication with Him, glorifying Him in your heart.