Monday, September 14, 2009

Understanding Times and Seasons

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
(Eph.5:15-17, KJV).

Circumspect comes from two Latin words which mean "looking around." The Greek word carries the idea of precision and accuracy. "See that you walk carefully, with exactness" is the meaning. The opposite would be walking carelessly and without proper guidance and forethought. We cannot leave the Christian life to chance. We must make wise decisions and seek to do the will of God.
Eph.5:14-15 are related. Paul appeared to be saying, "Don't walk in your sleep! Wake up! Open your eyes! Make the most of the day!" It is sad to see many professed Christians "drift" through life, like sleepwalkers, who never really make the most of opportunities to live for Christ and serve Him. Paul presented several reasons why we should be accurate and careful in our walk.

1. It is a mark of wisdom (v.15). Only a fool drifts with the wind and tide. A wise man marks out his course, sets his sails, and guides the rudder until he reaches his destination. When a man wants to build a house, he first draws his plans so he knows what he is doing (Lk.14:28). Yet, how many Christians plan their days so that they use their opportunities wisely? True, we cannot know what a day may bring forth (Jam.4:13-17). But it is also true that a planned life can better deal with unexpected events. Someone said, "When the pilot does not know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind."

2. Life is short (v.16a). "Buying up the opportunity - taking advantage of it." An old Chinese adage says, "Opportunity has a forelock so you can seize it when you meet it. Once it is past, you cannot seize it again." Our English word opportunity comes from the Latin and means "toward the port." It suggests a slip taking advantage of the wind and tide to arrive safely in the harbor. The brevity of life is a strong argument for making the best use of the opportunities God gives us.

3. The days are evil (v.16b). In Paul's time, this meant that Roman persecution was on the way (1Pet.4:12-19). How foolish to waste opportunities to win the lost when soon those opportunities might be taken away by the advances of sin in society! If the days were evil when Paul wrote this letter, what must be their condition today?

4. God has given us a mind (v.17a). "Understanding" suggests using our minds to discover and do the will of God. Too many Christians have the idea that discovering God's will is a mystical experience that rules out clear thinking. But this idea is wrong - and dangerous. We discover the will of God as He transforms the mind (Rom 12:1-2); and this transformation is the result of the Word of God, prayer, meditation, and worship. If God gave you a mind, then He expects you to use it. This means that learning His will involves gathering facts, examining them, weighing them, and praying for His wisdom (James 1:5). God does not want us simply to know His will; He wants us to understand His will.

5. God has a plan for our lives (v.17b). Paul alluded to this plan (Eph 2:10). If God saved me, He has a purpose for my life, and I should discover that purpose and then guide my life accordingly. He reveals His plan through His Word (Col 1:9-10), His Spirit in our hearts (Col 3:15), and the working of circumstances (Rom 8:28). The Christian can 'walk carefully and accurately because he knows what God wants him to do. Like the builder following the blueprint, he accomplishes what the architect planned.

No comments:

Post a Comment