Summary: Walking through life is like hiking up a mountain. God teaches us many lessons about life in this section.
Ephesians 5:15-20: HOW TO CLIMB LIFE MOUNTAIN
"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. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Have you ever climbed a mountain before? Mountain climbing used to be a hobby of mine, during my younger years when I was single and had more free time. Every year, pretty much at this time of the year, a group of us would head west to the Rockies with a van full of camping gear and groceries, and we would spend a couple weeks climbing.
Have you ever climbed a mountain before? Do you realize that you are climbing a mountain right now? Living your life is like climbing a mountain. This section of the Bible teaches us all kinds of lessons of how to climb the mountain of life successfully, until we finally reach the summit, which is heaven.
The first thing God tells us it to do here is to "watch your step" - "be very careful, then, how you live your life - not as unwise but as wise." Literally, watch how you walk. Don’t be unwise, be wise. What does it mean? The next verse gives us the answer: "making the most of every opportunity." A Christian understands that every day on this planet counts - every step is important. As I climb this mountain, I come across opportunities to show love to God, and opportunities to show love and kindness to others.
Sometimes when you’re hiking up a mountain, you’re not really paying attention to what’s around you, and you miss some really neat things. You’re so focused on getting to the top, that you didn’t see the moose that was only 10 feet off the path. There’s that beautiful lake that’s just off the path to the right. There’s that waterfall surrounded by beautiful flowers off to the left. Look around you carefully, and enjoy the scenery along the way.
A Christian climbing the mountain of life is always looking around carefully, making the most of every opportunity for that chance to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Maybe it’s an act of kindness to a fellow Christian. Maybe it’s a listening ear to someone who needs to express how they feel. Maybe it’s a conversation with that person in your life that doesn’t believe in Jesus. As I walk through life, God wants me to look for the opportunities he gives me to glorify him and to love others. That’s what it means to be "careful how you live your life, not as unwise but as wise."
Have you been careful with your life this way? The next verse says "Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." To be foolish means that I don’t get it. I believe in Jesus, but my faith is so shallow that I don’t know why I’m here in this world. I’m just living my life for the here and now, living for myself. Making my money, focusing on pleasure - that’s what life is all about - a good life. Don’t be foolish, God says. Instead, "understand what the Lord’s will is." How do I understand the Lord’s will? It’s by spending time in God’s Word. There is no shortcut, to easy way around it. It all comes down to reading the Bible, thinking about it, talking about it, listening to others talk about it. Before we went on hiking trips, our group would get together with guidebooks and maps, and we would study and talk and plan what we were going to do. If it weren’t for those study and planning sessions, our hikes would have been disastrous - it would have been foolish to go. A Christian needs to do the same thing - to take time away from the regular things of this world and to spend time by yourself and with others in God’s Word. Don’t be foolish, the Bible says. "Understand what the Lord’s will is."
And what do you do when life starts to stress you out? When you’re hiking up the mountain of life, and your legs start to get tired and your backpack starts to weigh you down? It says here, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery." Can you imagine trying to climb a difficult mountain, and when you’re halfway up and you’re out of breath, you pull out a bottle of alcohol and start drinking? Anyone that climbs mountains will tell you that this is not only unwise, it can be lethal.