TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 5:15-17
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” EPH 5:15-17
I was on a ministry trip to Zambia with a good friend of mine. We had been invited to speak and minister into a church in one of the townships in Lusaka. This was a completely new experience to us as two British men among over 400 Zambians in one of the poorest areas of the city. With a large crowd in the hall there were only two or three cars in the car park. I felt excited and loaded with my best preaches! My friend, however, is brilliant with children and shared with me that he felt we should offer to lead the children’s work as part of our ministry. Immediately, I sensed that he had heard God so we offered to lead a children’s workshop alongside preaching and teaching. The Zambian Pastor was amazed and later told us that this was the first time anyone had asked to do something with the children. What followed was one of the most moving moments of my life. We stood in a tiny classroom with just a blackboard and a few desks. My friend began to tell and act out (in a way that is worthy of an Oscar!) the story of Jonah. The children just kept appearing and as he continued, the classroom was soon over-flowing! In a moment of inspiration (captured in photos), my friend set off around the empty car park on a march to Nineveh followed by a huge line of enthralled children! We saw over 40 salvations over that weekend. Thanks to my friend’s wisdom, we had found the Lord’s will.
One of the reasons these days are evil is because the world does not value what God values. If we live for ourselves, insist on our right to choose and worship at the altar of fame and fortune, then we are surely living as unwise not wise (v15). There is a lot of truth in the well-worn phrase, ‘only fools rush in’. Making rash decisions without taking the time to seek the Lord and find trustworthy, accountable counsel is a road to disaster. I should know! Too many times I have, ‘just got on with it’ only to prove scripture correct, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”. (Proverbs 16:1). There are many pitfalls for us in these evil days but God has provided us with many (and better) protections if we live wisely. In Zambia, I was at risk of diving in and missing God’s will but my friend was living wisely.
What are the ways we can live wisely and understand the Lord’s will?
- Wise living begins with a fear of the Lord by living His way. Putting God first in all things is always the safe choice. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction”. Proverbs 1:7
- The wise person prays. Prayer is a dialogue with the wisdom of heaven. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”. James 1:5
- Actively choose to live in accountability. Inviting advice and correction from a loving leader who is worthy of imitation is a wise choice. “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise”. Proverbs 19:20
- Value those who are older and more mature in the faith; we need their wisdom. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long-life bring understanding?” Job 12:12
• Read Ephesians 5:15-17
• Bring any decisions you are facing before the Lord in prayer and continue a dialogue with heaven.
• Seek out accountable and wise, Godly advice. Be humble and invite both advice and correction. That is living wisely.