Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Make the Most of Every Opportunity

 Read Ephesians 5

Paul used the first part of this chapter to remind his readers that there is God’s way and there is everything else.  Walk in the light, not in darkness. Walk in love not apathy. 

It’s a continuation of what he said earlier.  Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  You have heard it from me many times.  Live in grateful response to your salvation.

So, we get more of that from Paul, but before transitioning to his next topic, he says WAKE UP!  Don’t just drift through life.  Don’t just exist.  Live!

Every day we choose to live in the light or sneak around in the darkness.  We live a life pleasing to God or we grieve the Holy Spirit by our choices. We live God’s way or we live in the everything else.

Wake up!  Your life is full of moment-to-moment choices.  It’s not just getting up in the morning saying I am bringing glory to God today.  That would be a good start, but soon something will happen or nothing will happen and our minds are distracted or adrift.

We can find ourselves heading down the wrong path or just drifting through the day.  We must be awake.  I didn’t say woke.  We are to awaken.  We are to make conscious choices as to how we will live.

Wake up!

Then Paul gives us words that I used all through our journey through the Proverbs.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

When we concluded the Proverbs, I used these words from Paul to bring us to something of a conclusion, at least a wrap up.  I used the New King James Version at that time.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Following counsel to awaken, we are told to take care in our next steps.  There is a minefield out there.  There is a narrow path that leads to God and to living in the right standing that he gave us in the blood of Jesus. 

Wake up!  Stay on course.  Press on towards the goal, don’t be distracted.  Don’t start drifting.  Make good choices moment-to-moment.

If you are in the middle of an algebra test for which you did not study, you might think that hour will never end, but in life, we are counseled that we are but a mist.  We are here for only a moment.

In the context of eternity, the time that we give to making good choices in the here and now is so brief but so important.  Wake up.  Stop and think. Take your next steps with care that they keep you on the path directed by the Lord.

Paul next ventures into marital counseling.  How does a man that we don’t think was ever married counsel married couples?

He bases his guidance upon the relationship between Christ and his church.

Let me cut to the heart of the matter.  Ladies, how would you feel is your husband said that I will love you when you earn it?  I will love her when she earns my love.  How would that make you feel?

How would you husbands feel if your wives said, I will respect you when you earn it

Both love and respect fall under the umbrella of love, but for the man, unconditional respect is as important as unconditional love is to the woman.

Both men and women in a marital relationship need love.  Both need respect but unconditional love is the greater need of the woman and unconditional respect is the greater need of the man.

If you don’t like it that way, talk to the One who designed us.  If you will set your sights on meeting your partner’s greater need, you will understand what it is to submit to one another in Christ.

Wives are to present themselves as radiant and unblemished with the husband as the head of the wife.  We may have protesters outside of the building next week.

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  What does that mean?  Christ died for the church.  He died for all of us, but the counsel to husbands is that you love your wives as Christ loved the church.

Ladies, in the sacrament of Christian Marriage, your husbands have said they would die for you. To which the ladies reply, yeah, but he never does it.

Ok gals, the next time you are giving your guy the look because his body makes strange noises, remember that he said he would die for you.

Unconditional love and unconditional respect will get us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Our first opportunity comes when we wake up.  We wake up in the morning and set our sights on pleasing the Lord, and when we wake up to the life that is before us.  We choose wisely.

Our next opportunity comes when men choose to love their wives unconditionally and women respect their husbands unconditionally. Husbands and wives submit to each other in the Lord.

Our next opportunity comes with our own children.  We know about bringing them up in the way they should go.  Paul adds a little counsel about our children in the next chapter.

Our next opportunities come outside the walls of our homes.  When we get to the letter to the Colossians, Paul will instruct us to do our jobs—work as if we were working for the Lord, not men.

We have a standing directive to love one another.  That thought should govern in our moment-to-moment decisions.

We have a commission to take the gospel to the world.  That mission entrusted to us helps us take care in our choices.  What choice will best let me share the love of God with someone who is lost?

But, but, but… There is evil all around us.  The days are classified as evil. Yes, you are surrounded by minefields.  Don’t step on the mines.

Realize you are also surrounded by opportunities.  Make the most of your opportunities.  You can’t do this if you are asleep.  Awaken.  See the world as a series of wise choices to be made.  In so doing, Christ will keep you in the light.

He will direct your steps.  You can live wisely in the age of evil. That’s individuals, families, and communities.

Let’s put this in the first person.  I can live wisely in an age that is evil.


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