"Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." NIV
To completely understand this verse you have to sort of read it backwards. Start with the "Therefore." We are told to "not be foolish," which is the opposite of wise, and "understand God's will." How do we understand God's will? Well, first we can't be living foolishly which means avoiding all the stuff we've been discussing in 4:25-5:7. Then we must be in communion with Him through His Word and the Holy Spirit's counsel. His Spirit will guide and direct us each day if we will only "listen" for His leading.
Therefore, if I am living wisely -- not in the ways of this world, but in imitation of God and Christ's love, and focused on God's leading in my life, I will be able to make "the most of every opportunity" to shine as a light in a dark world. It's a very simple plan, even if it is not always easy to execute, and it begins with the surrender of living life our own way to living by God's plan.
The enemy works very hard to appeal to our arrogance and desire for instantaneous pleasure. Both feel really good. But when you completely submit to our Lord's desire, the satisfaction is so far greater, not to mention the eternal rewards. There is no greater high than knowing our Lord has guided you to do something or say something that you know is completely from Him. When you know you've walked in His light and not your own understanding of a situation; when you bring someone to tears of joy for saying something to them they needed to hear because God told you to; when you are serving Him and someone comes to know Him in a greater way because you were there at that moment ready and available, you will not be able to describe the joy that brings. There is no other event on this earth that brings more satisfaction than doing our Lord's will. Unfortunately, for some believers living in places of persecution, it is not always a joyful obedience. But from their testimonies, we've learned that they would have never chosen another way. The right choice is to avoid the days of evil, and choose to live in wisdom, following the will of God.
Lord, whether in peaceful times or persecution, help me to make the right choice to always live wisely for You.
- Making these choices relates back to what our purpose is. Reread Ephesians 1.
- Read through some of Proverbs. It is full of instruction on living wisely. Especially take note Solomon's message to his sons in Chapter 4.
- Read through the old hymn, "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/u/guideme.htm and ask Him to guide your every step.
- A pastor at our church last Sunday suggested setting your phone or electronic calendar to alert you 4-5 times a day. When the alarm sounds, stop what you are doing and take some time to acknowledge the Lord and ask His direction. It's a great way to reset your focus in a busy day.