Summary: Christians are expected to know how to live wisely.
Preceding paragraphs argued that being followers of Christ requires different lifestyles. The pagans live their lives in ignorance due to their stubbornness. Now since they trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, they were taught in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus Christ. Their knowledge of Christ provided them wisdom that would enable them to live wisely.
1. A wise person is identified in his use of time (v. 16).
“16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Wise people make the most of their opportunity (kairos) or time. Opportunity is a favorable time or set of circumstances for doing something. Kairos is a point of time or period of time.
Wise people know that time is a precious commodity. All of us have the same amount of time at our disposal, with 60 minutes in every hour and 24 hours in every day. None of us can stretch time. But wise people use it to the fullest possible advantage. Paul said the “days are evil,” so they seize each fleeting opportunity which it is there. Wise people use their time wisely and productively.
ILLUSTRATION As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Henry David Thoreau.
2. A wise person understands God’s will (v. 17).
Romans 12:2 (NIV) 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul said that God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect. Living our lives outside the will of God is foolishness. Wisdom is to be found in God’s will and nowhere else.
“17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Nothing is more important in life than to discover and do the will of God. Unfortunately a lot of people live their lives based on their own will. It is essential to distinguish between God’s general will and specific will. General will of God is His plan that relates to all of us and for all people. His general will is found in the Scripture or the Word of God.
Example: Salvation, forgiveness, loving God, loving others, job, worship, service, etc.
Specific will pertains to particularities of our life and is different for each of us.
Example: Job is general but the kind of job for each is specific. Or marriage and if so, whom?
Specific will cannot be found in the Scriptures but we shall find general principles to guide us. Detailed decisions have to be made after careful thought and prayer and the seeking of advice from nature and experienced believers. Wise people accept God’s general will as non-negotiable while specific will could be subjective or relative to the persons characteristics and personalities.
3. A wise person seeks to be filled by the Spirit of God (v. 18-21)
Grammatically speaking, this paragraph consists of two imperatives (commands) followed by four present participles. The participles are the consequences of the imperatives.
“18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul contrasted being filled with Spirit with drunkenness. There is a superficial similarity between the two conditions. A person drunk is under the influence of alcohol. While the person filled with the Spirit is under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit.
The contrast is on the effect of its specific influence. Wine or alcohol pharmacologically speaking is a depressant. It depresses first and foremost the highest centers of all in the brain. They control everything that gives a man self-control, wisdom, understanding, discrimination, judgment, balance, the power to assess everything; in other words everything that makes a man behave at his very best and highest was depressed.
The result of drunkenness is debauchery. Debauchery means excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs. It is a behavior which shows lack of concern or thought for the consequences of an action – senseless and recklessness.
What the Holy Spirit does, however, is the exact opposite. If it is included in a textbook of Pharmacology, the Holy Spirit would be placed under the stimulants. He really does stimulate. He stimulates our every faculty, the mind and the intellect; the heart and the will to be productive and Christ-like in behavior.
Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The results of being filled with the Spirit are: