Ephesians – Belief and Behavior
We waste a lot of time doing things of no real value. We worry over getting things done and miss what is in front of us who need our attention most. Our favorite phrase is “why put off today what you can put off tomorrow”? Then there is the extreme opposite thinking that is just as bad. “I must get my list done today so I don’t fall behind with my list of to do’s for tomorrow.” We waffle between doing nothing and doing everything. All thing done without God in it is a waste of time. We waste enormous amounts of time to indulge ourselves and our lists.
It took me a lot of years to learn to work smarter, not harder in problem solving. For the believer, that means to ask God what HE wants first in any situation or circumstance that is bewildering to us. Then WAIT before responding and acting on a problem for His Holy Spirit to guide us. Pray for God’s strength to stop us from knee jerk human reactions that get us into more trouble. Think before responding to anyone who has hurt you with their words. Hurting people who are walking in darkness hurt people.
Exposing their dark deeds, as Paul recommends in our passage today, is tricky. It might mean merely saying, “Ouch, that hurt”, when words fly. Letting people know it hurt without flinging words of retaliation back to them will stop the conversation dead in it’s tracks many times. It might cause the one who is abusive to stop and think. To continue to argue back and forth is a waste of time.
“Don’t drink too much wine.” This is another time waster. Impaired thinking leads to harmful decision making. We have seen marriages break up, children hurt for life over the break up and many others harmed in the time waster of drinking to excess. There are other bad habits that also demand our attention to it’s addiction. Addictive behavior leads to more time wasted.
“So watch your step”, says Paul, inspired by God who wants HIS best for us! “Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get These are desperate times!” As Paul is writing, Christians are being harassed and persecuted for being followers of Christ. Are these desperate times, today? Mm. Yes. Pray for those who are being persecuted and at the very least disowned by family around the world who have said yes to Christ.
Don’t be a tormentor or teaser of the faith by making fun of those who wish not to drink alcohol, overeat or take drugs that impair judgement. This has happened to me…inside a church of believers…in the United States! (I don’t go there anymore.) I was called a prude and being “judgy” because I don’t see the need for it in my life. I don’t need to drink to have a good time. In my mind, I’m thinking, “And whose’s judgy here?” It’s amazing how darkness turns the tables in our thinking as we humans try to justify what we do. Just because I didn’t drink I didn’t fit into their social circle. Ouch, that hurt.
Time wasters. We all waste time. We all need to repent of wasting time on stupid stuff when there are millions who are searching for authenticity, acceptance and unconditional love. Jesus Christ is all that and more. Yes, make the most of EVERY opportunity to “Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the Name of our Master, Jesus Christ!”
Ephesians 5, The Message
11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of wasting time. Our sings your praises this morning as we think and meditate on all that you have provided. You are faithful, loving and kind to us. May we make the most of every opportunity to be kind and loving to others. Transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen