Can you believe it’s December already? In just a few weeks we’ll be closing out another year and changing our calenders to 2017. If time flies when you’re having fun, then I must be having a blast!
I know that the rate of time’s passage is a matter of perception. It moves at the same pace for everyone. We all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours a week, 8,736 a year. That doesn’t change based on who we are. The only difference is how we use those hours while we’re here.
The apostle Paul reminds us of how important it is to use the 24 hours of every 8,736 we get each year wisely.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16, NKJV)
When Paul says, “walk circumspectly,” he is saying to be careful how you live. The word “walk” is frequently used in Scripture as a reference to lifestyle. So, it is an admonition to be careful that we have the right kind of lifestyle (cf. Ephesians 4:1, 17; 5:2). The Lexham English Bible translates it as, “consider carefully how you live.”
What is it that we are supposed to “consider carefully” about the way we live? Paul said we must be careful that we are not living “as fools,” or “unwise.” Louw and Nida, in their definition of this word, has this explanatory note, “do not live like unwise people, but like wise people.” And then, for the word “wise,” “don’t live like ignorant people, but like people who are wise.” So, the principle being, be careful how you live, that you are not living like someone who has no understanding but as those who do have an understanding and that apply that understanding to their lifestyle.
If there is something that we are supposed to have an understanding of so that we can apply it to our lives, then what is that understanding – or knowledge – that we are supposed to have. What knowledge is it that, when applied correctly, makes us wise instead of unwise? This verse (i.e. Ephesians 5:15) begins, “See then,” or “Therefore.” That means it is being based on what was said just prior (Ephesians 5:8-14). Christians are supposed to be living according to the truth of God’s word, “Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). We are supposed to be applying the knowledge of God’s word to a lifestyle characterized by the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. goodness, righteousness, and truth) (Ephesians 5:9). We are supposed to be living in such a way that our studious pursuit of God’s will is evident in the way that we live (Ephesians 5:10). Because we are striving to live in the truth of God’s word, in a way that is acceptable to the Lord, we will abstain from anything that doesn’t characterize such a lifestyle (Ephesians 5:11). We will not give any place whatsoever to such things because even speaking of them would be shameful to us (Ephesians 5:12). Rather, by our pursuit of goodness, righteousness, and truth, we will have a lifestyle that exposes the unfruitfulness of sin and error (Ephesians 5:12-13). We are to be as those who live with their eyes wide open! (Ephesians 5:14).
So, it is the application of God’s word to our life that is wise. It is the pursuit and application of the goodness, righteousness, and truth that is acceptable to Him, that is wise. Ephesians 5:17 sums up what Paul said in Ephesians 5:8-14 as understanding what the will of the Lord is. When we study to show ourselves approved to God (2 Timothy 2:15), and apply that knowledge to our lives, we are wise!
Paul emphasizes the importance of this when he says, in Ephesians 5:16, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” It is important that we are living the way we are supposed to be living right now! I know that this day will have 24 hours in it. I know that this week will be made up of 7 days of 24 hours each, and I know that 2017 will be made up of 365 days of 24 hours each. But I don’t know how many of them I will get to see. I pray that I will be able to see every hour of those days. But I don’t know if I will or not. I don’t even know if I’ll get to see the first one or not, and neither do you! The only hour we know that we have for sure is the one we are in right now. If I’m not applying God’s word to my life right now, that’s not wise. Whatever unwise activity I have in my life needs to be put away right now, this very hour, because I don’t know if I’ll have another one. I pray that 2017 will find you happy and healthy. But, especially, that you will be found walking in the light. Be wise and start that walk right now.