Ephesians 5:15-17 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.
We are always on the chase for something. Most people think if they could just get more money they would finally be where they want in their lives. Others long for the approval and affection of another person to establish meaning into who they are. If you examine your own life, you will be able to find the things your heart longs for. My encouragement to you in your chasing is this: GET WISDOM!
Of course, if we are going to get wisdom, we need to know what we mean by wisdom and how to go about getting it…
Some think that wisdom automatically comes with age, so as long as I grow older and have more experiences, I will get wiser. That is not necessarily true. I wish it were. How many people have you seen that have aged in years but seem to have not aged in wisdom?
Does wisdom automatically come through experience? Unfortunately, not always. You can gain it, and it would be WISE to gain it. In His grace, God offers us wisdom so we don’t have to get it the hard way. But we have to pursue it and listen for it. We have to choose it.
God’s Word has much to say about wisdom, and how you can get it.
There are books in the OT dedicated to teaching what wisdom is and how to get it. Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are known as the wisdom books. Many of the Psalms deal with it. In fact, there isn’t a book in the Bible that does not deal with wisdom in some practical way.
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” Proverbs 8:11
One of the problems that we have as fallen humans is we don’t always see the value of wisdom in comparison to the value of other things. If I offered you a bag with one million dollars in it. And I gave you the choice between the cash, or godly wisdom so you can lead your family well, and lead your life in wisdom…the vast majority of people would choose the cash.
The Bible says that choice would be a foolish one.
In 1 Kings chapter 3, Solomon faced such a choice. After coming to the throne after his father David had died, Solomon offered a thousand sacrifices to the Lord. God told Solomon, “Anything you ask for, I will give you…”
Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted it to him. Solomon, through wisdom, acquired every earthly pleasure and security imaginable.
As I reflect over Solomons life I realize that, in Solomons downfall, he didn’t lose earthly wisdom, he just stopped operating according to God’s Word.
Is there a difference in earthly wisdom and Godly wisdom? Yes, there is.
The passage in Ephesians is the command to be wise, but it breaks down into three examples of living in wisdom.
What is wisdom?
The obvious answer is the ability to apply knowledge in doing what is right, or correct.
But you have to have the knowledge before you can apply it.
James 3:13-18 tells us the difference in earthly wisdom and wisdom from above…
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1 Corinthians 1:30 says, And because of him[a] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
This establishes that Jesus is the embodiment of God’s wisdom.
1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
This tells us to trust Christ and yield to the Spirit to walk in wisdom. Verses 6 through 16 of that chapter are all about Wisdom from the Spirit of God.
Psalm 119. The longest chapter in the Bible, the middle point of OT and NT together is all about gaining wisdom from God’s Word.
The real question is how do we get this wisdom that Scripture speaks of?
James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We ask the Lord, the source and creator of Wisdom for it.
— Walk Carefully
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise…
The command here in Ephesians starts with this first example of living wisely. It is that you walk carefully.
“See then” – means to take heed. To pay attention to the circumstances and consequences of decisions and actions. To Guard against things that are improper and unbecoming to the life of a Christian.
“Walk circumspectly” – speaks of exact accuracy, in diligent carefulness. Circumspect means to “look around”
“Not as fools” – not as someone who lacks wisdom
Paying attention (circumspectly) is a mark of wisdom.
In your life, are you paying attention? Are you paying attention to your own mind and heart. What signs of longing and desire can you see and feel? What are you allowing into your mind and allowing to have influence over you?
Are you walking carefully, with intent, and understanding…
What we can take from this verse is this: The wise man lives his life carefully, he pays attention to decisions and consequences. The foolish man gives no thought to whats around him or who is around him, he doesnt live with intent where he pays attention to danger. He is a fool, and evidences of foolishness mark his life.
— Walk Economically
Ephesians 5:16 says, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Life is short. Redeem it! Buy up the opportunity by taking advantage of it. It speaks of using everything available to accomplish the goal.
The brevity of life should be a motivation for using time wisely.
Psalm 90:12 says, So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Time speaks to an appointed moment. A fixed, measured, allocated season.
The wise man takes advantage of the time that he has on this earth to live for what matters most. He doesnt squander his life. The foolish man has no thought of the end or eternity. He lives his life for the moment in such a way that there are no redemptive purposes in it. He lives like a fool, and comes to the end of his life with nothing to show for it.
— Walk Thoughtfully
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
The word ”understanding” is an important word for many reasons. This reminds us that God has given us a brain, a mind to use. Be sure to use it!
When we look to the Word of God and develop our minds with it, or “renew” our minds through it, we utilize the gift God has given us, and we understand more and more of who He is and what His will is. This isn’t just about knowing God’s will, but also understanding it.
Too many Christians think that understanding God’s will involves some sort of spiritual out of body experience where we get “in touch” with something outside of us. If we are not careful, this can be dangerous. God has revealed His will in His Word. And when are renewed in our minds by His Word, and we spend time in it, through prayer and worship, we gain understanding.
In the context of this passage, what is the will of God? That we live our lives as the new creation that we are in Christ. That we pursue holiness and purity. That we become more like Christ. God’s will is much more about who you are than it is about where you are.
Knowing what the will of the Lord is brings comfort and peace and rids itself of panic in a world gone mad. Our minds will be renewed into knowing that God is sovereign.
What can we take from this passage? The wise man utilizes his time in the Word of God and seeks renewal through it. He doesn’t try to correct the Word of God when He disagrees with it, He corrects Himself to align with the Words of God. In wisdom he recognizes that He is wrong and he continually seeks to follow the will of God for his life. In contrast, the foolish man ignores the larger purposes of God for his life and the world. He lives with no direction, does not renew his mind in the things of God and instead rebels against Scripture and the authority of God.
Love it. Cherish it. Ask God for it. Live in it. Operate by it. Surrender yourself to it.
Allow it to lead your life, because it will lead you to security, and not destruction!