In Ephesians 5, we are encouraged to approach life with wisdom. Specifically, to use our time wisely because the days are evil. "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" (vs. 15-16). This passage came to mind recently as I caught myself begrudging these winter days, wishing the days were longer and the cold was gone. On the days that we want to wish away, Paul calls us to use them well. In the verses that surround his call, Paul explains how we can make the most of our days.
The first instruction is to walk in love (vs 2), by imitating Christ and sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others. Now if you're anything like me, self-sacrifice does not come naturally, made even more difficult by cold weather, dark days and cloudy skies. My inclination is to make myself comfortable and prioritize my needs and comforts before those of my family or friends. But here, Paul is telling us that our approach to life, or daily rhythms, should be that of love and sacrifice. The verses that follow verse 2 are a long list of self-indulgent sins, prioritizing love and comfort of self. How do we combat the drowsy stupor of self indulgence? We love. We give. We make this part of the rhythms of life, of who we are.
The second instruction comes in two parts. First, to not be foolish, but to know the will of the Lord. What is the will of the Lord? 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says that God's will for us is that we grow in sanctification. That we make use of our time to grow in holiness and wisdom. Secondly, Paul instructs us not to be drunk but to be filled with the Spirit. According to Paul, days that are spent with a mind set on Christ and a heart filled with the Spirit are days of gladness, singing and thankfulness. We are living in evil days, days that are filled with annoyances, difficulties and discomforts. How do we fight our natural inclination on these days? We sing. We give thanks. We make the attitude of our heart and mind inclined to the Holy Spirit and calling of the Lord. May we grow in this wisdom, inclining our hearts to the Holy Spirit, pursuing health and joy as a family of believers.