Embrace Opportunity but Proceed with Caution
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Would you go for a walk in the jungle at night? I suppose there are some adventurers who would accept the offer. However, most of us would emphatically say, “no.” To be honest, I’m not all that keen on strolling in a jungle in daylight. Too many dangerous critters waiting for a good meal.
Notice the Apostle Paul’s use of the word “then” in verse 15. He has concluded an argument that began in verse 8, in which he contrasts our lives before Christ when we walked in darkness, and our Christian lives now in the light of Christ. His point is that we as Christians are in the light, but we must still proceed with caution because the world remains in darkness. Like that jungle I referenced, there is danger all around.
As “children of light” (v8), we are to “seek the fruit of the light,” (v9) which is “goodness, righteousness and truth,” (v9) and “find out what pleases the Lord.” (v10)
I recently watched a PBS documentary about an herbalist. He had devoted his life to identifying plants and trees that have medicinal qualities. But just as there are many beneficial plants, some can make you sick and others can kill you. As we navigate this evil world, we look to God to show us the good and the bad so we can make right and godly choices. Our goal is to find what pleases Him.
In verse 11 Paul warns, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness…” Sin abounds. Wickedness prevails. None of it is beneficial.
It’s very much like living in the Garden of Eden. There’s plenty of good fruit from which to choose. Just don’t partake of the bad fruit, no matter how attractive it may be.
That brings us to our focus text. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” (v15) God gives us wisdom to make the right choices, to distinguish between right and wrong.
When our children are growing up, we do our best to teach them right from wrong; principles to help them get the most out of life. Our rules and prohibitions are not designed to rob them of joy, but rather to insure they will find it as they become adults.
God does the same with His children. He wants us to experience abundant living in Christ and avoid the dangers that seek to devour us.
We’re to make “the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (v16) The opportunity he refers to is taking advantage of the good fruit revealed by the light, which is “goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Therein lies God’s wisdom and His will. In verse 17, Paul writes, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
As I have said in previous devotions, God’s will is not mysterious or hard to find. It’s as plain as the words on the pages of the Bible.
There’s a flashlight beside my bed, just in case the power goes out at night. It helps me navigate through the darkness. Even with that tiny light, I have to proceed with caution. That’s what Paul is telling us about living in the light of Christ. The world in which we live is evil and dark, but we have been given light for wisdom and to know God’s will. The light enables us to make choices that please God.
I really like what Paul said in verse 11. “Find out what pleases the Lord…” Whenever we encounter a decision or an activity that raises a flag of possible impropriety we should take a moment to ask, “Lord, if I do this will it please You?” May we have the fortitude and good sense to change direction if His answer is “NO.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Walk by the Spirit
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.