Summary: Wisdom is not knowledge, it is the correct application of knowledge. A person can have all the knowledge in the world and yet lack wisdom.
Walking in Wisdom
Text: Ephesians 5:15-21
By: Ken McKinley
I have an uncle that has a certain phrase that he often uses when someone comes to him with troubling news. He will listen to the person and then he will say, “This too will pass.” Now he doesn’t say that flippantly or without compassion, he is sincerely trying to get people to see that the troubles of this world are only momentarily. And as I was thinking about this, I guess we could use that saying for the good times as well. Now it probably wouldn’t be wise to say that to someone if they were telling you about a great event. I mean; could you imagine if someone came up to you and said, “Hey guess what! Things are going great in my life. I just got a promotion at work and a dollar an hour raise. My kids are doing well in school and life is just great.” They might get a little upset if you looked at them and in somber tones said, “This too will pass.”
But the reality is, that both the good times in life and the bad times, are not constant. There is another saying that says, “All which pleases is but for a moment. All which troubles is but for a moment. That only is important which is eternal.” And I think that being able to distinguish between these three options is the key to living a life of contentment. And that’s not always an easy thing to do, it calls for wisdom which God supplies in His Word and which the Holy Spirit applies to our everyday lives.
So as we’ve been looking through Ephesians we’ve seen how Paul has told us to put off certain things, and to put on other things, and now he begins by telling us that we should walk in wisdom.
You can have all the knowledge in the world and still lack wisdom. Wisdom isn’t knowledge; it’s the correct application of knowledge. Luck and sill might make you a lot of money, but wisdom will help you to keep it. Charisma and kindness might make you a lot of friends, but wisdom will help you keep them and make sure that they are true. Wisdom will keep a person out of trouble, wisdom will help you avoid danger, and wisdom will help you make the right decisions in life. In-fact I would say that wisdom is supposed to guide our lives. Unfortunately; we live in a world where thinking through the implications of one’s choices is a rare phenomenon. And what’s bad about this is that this world lives in us too.
The impulsive person will base their decisions on feelings, desires, instincts and immediate circumstances. Impulsive people rarely count the cost of their decisions, but a wise person will think things through, they don’t act impulsively or on a whim.
(Spec Ops Mission Planning Illustration – end to beginning)
So this is what Paul tells us in verse 15, to walk with wisdom, not as a fool, and we need wisdom so that we know how to take full advantage of our time and make the most out of all our opportunities. That’s what vs. 16 tells us to do, redeem the time, because the days are evil. If Paul had written this in Latin instead of Greek he would’ve said, “Carpe Diem!”… “Seize the Day!” And he says we need to do this because they days are evil.
Our text tells us we need to redeem the time because the days are evil, so therefore don’t be unwise, BUT… in contrast… understand what the will of the Lord is.
You see what Paul is saying here? He’s saying that if you can understand the will of the Lord, then you are not being unwise…
Wisdom is found in knowing God’s will.
Now that word “Fools” in verse 15 is not the same as the word “unwise” in verse 17. The fool is a clown… a person who is willfully ignorant and proud of it. Now when a person is ignorant of something that simply means that they don’t know about it, but to be willfully ignorant means that they have chosen to not know and they have no desire to know… it’s a close cousin to apathy. Well the fool is that kind of person. And so Paul tells us to be wise, and we are wise when we understand God’s will.
In verse 18 Paul tells us that we are not to engage in drunkenness but instead, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now it can be a scary thing when Baptists start talking about being filled with the Spirit. Unfortunately this term has been hijacked by those who have not examined the context of Scripture. Paul is talking about the third Person of the Trinity. This isn’t some strange mystical “force.” The Holy Spirit is a Person with whom we can have a relationship with; He seals us til the day of redemption. It was the Spirit who was active in creation as He hovered over the face of the waters, and He is active in our re-creation as the Word was made faith, and we were convicted of our sins, drawn to Christ, and regenerated so that we could in turn be lead and directed by the Holy Spirit in our daily walk.