Don’t Live Like Fools
If you grew up in church, especially if you are around my age, you probably grew up singing a song in Sunday School that says, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see,” “be careful little mouth what you say,” and “be careful little feet where you go, because the Father up above is looking down in love.” Sometimes I think we need to go back to those children songs, their so simple and yet so profound.
Our passage today sums this all up. In Ephesians 5:15 Paul says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” Just be careful how you live, it’s that simple…Right? He says that we shouldn’t live like fools, instead we should live like the wise. Okay, the first question is, how do we get wisdom? James 1:5 tells us, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” We quote this verse quite a bit, but sometimes we forget to go on from there. Verses 6-8 say, “6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” So, yes, ask God, but you must have complete faith and trust in God alone. That means, don’t look for wisdom in Confucius, Plato, or Socrates, and don’t trust your own wisdom. We must remember that true wisdom only comes from God. We may ask God for wisdom, then wonder why He hasn’t given it to us. It’s because we keep trusting in our own wisdom or that of other humans, our loyalty is divided.
So, what are the attributes of true wisdom? James 3:17 tells us, “17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” God’s wisdom is Pure, Peace Loving, Gentle at all times, and always willing to yield to others, in other words, it’s not proud. If your wisdom can’t be described as all these things, it is not of God. But, did you see what else it says? Look at it, “It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.” It’s not that wisdom brings about good deeds, it is the product of good deeds. Wisdom is produced by us asking God for it and doing good deeds.
So, if we want to live by the Spirit’s power, we first must live like the wise, not the foolish. But this passage goes on to say, “16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If you hadn’t noticed, we are living in very evil days, but Paul tells us to look for opportunities and make the most of them.
And, how can we make the most of these opportunities? We need to stop being thoughtless and start understanding God’s plan. As we’ve seen many times before, God’s plan is for us to glorify Him…that’s all! And, here’s how we can glorify God:
Step 1: Don’t be a drunk! Why? It will ruin your life! I can’t begin to tell you how many lives I’ve seen ruined by alcoholism, even in my own family.
Step 2: Be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must empty ourselves of self and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and rule in us.
Step 3: SING! Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. A study was recently released on the benefits of singing 10 minutes each day. It strengthens your immune system, it is a workout in itself and even strengthens your lungs, it improves your posture, it aids in regular sleep, it is a natural anti-depressant, it lowers stress levels, it improves mental alertness, it can widen your circle of friends, boost your confidence, broaden your communication skills, and increase your ability to appreciate other music. Sing out loud, but also make music in your heart to the Lord.
Step 4: And, most important. In the name of Jesus Christ, give thanks to God for EVERYTHING! Not just the good things…everything.
We all need to ask ourselves daily, am I living by the Spirit’s power? This word, power, is a word we talked about quite a while ago. The Greek word is dunamis, which is the word we derived our word dynamite from. It is an explosive power and an inherent power. It is a power that is inherent within us and only comes from God. In contrast, the word the Bible always uses when it talks about Satan’s power is exousia which means the ability or strength with which one is endued. It is a power that God has allowed Satan to have for a season.
So, pray every day that God will fill you with the Holy Spirit. In fact, pray to be filled to overflowing, so the Spirit will spill out on everyone you come in contact with. Don’t be drunk but allow the Spirit of God to rule in your life. Then sing…sing with joy in your heart to the Lord. If you are singing all day every day, whether out loud or to yourself, you will be filled with joy, you will be doing good deeds which will bring about God’s wisdom in your life, and you will be living in the power of the Spirit of God.