Monday, January 4, 2010

6 Questions for Wisdom in 2010

6 Questions for Wisdom in 2010
Ephesians 5:15-21

Ephesians 5:15
Verse 15 is the key verse which announces the theme of the passage. The Christian is to walk in wisdom, not in unwisdom. This is another check point for the Christian life. Here are six simple questions that scream out from this passage to help you access your life and plan for 2010.

1. Am I making the most of what I have before me? Ephesians 5:16

In verse 16 we see the first explanation of walking in wisdom. Paul gave this challenge: "making the most of every opportunity." King James translates it: "redeeming the time." The Greek word translated in the middle voice means "to buy up for one's self or for one's own advantage." It means to make the very best use of your time. Also, significant is greek word for time. It is not chronos which is simply time as it passes. Instead it is kairos which refers to strategic opportunities.
Do you see your days in college as the simple passing of time, or as strategic opportunities. Your schedule centers around you now more than it will at any other time in life. You may not believe that to be true, but trust me, it is. What are you doing with it?
Psalms 39:4 (NASB) - 4 "Lord, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.
Psalms 90:10 (NIV) - 10 The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
“fit the big stuff in first”.

2. Do I understand my playing field?
Know your opposition! Know the tendencies of your opponent! Do not be lulled to sleep!
Paul gives us a reason to use our opportunities wisely, he says, "because the days are evil." The word for evil means active opposition to the things of God. So here is the picture: every day, certain opportunities come along. Evil is actively at work, trying to turn those opportunities into something which will dishonor God and discredit God's word. By knowing this, you can be aggressive and alert to what is happening around you. You can be God’s representative and do something which will honor God and affirm His word.
How do you see the enemy/evil at work around you?

3. Am I discovering the “Lord’s will”? Ephesians 5:17
"The Lord's will" is a phrase which, in one form or another, permeates the Bible.
· God has certain things He wants to accomplish in the world.
· God has certain things He wants to achieve in our lives.
· God has certain laws He wants us to live by so that we can get the most out of life.
· God has certain ways He wants us to relate to others.
· God has certain responses He wants us to make to the crises of life.
All of these things can be summarized in the one phrase: "the Lord's will." How do we discover these things?
They are in God’s word. I believe obedience is the key component to discovering God’s will. You will not discover God’s will apart from spending time in his word and practicing obedience. The unfortunate thing is we make God's will about us. We think it is discovering our future. It isn't. It is about God, discovering his desires and lining ourselves up with them.

4. Is anything other than God, controlling my life? Ephesians 5:18
Paul took it a step further in verse 18. The focus here is not on the use of wine, but on the abuse of wine. To abuse wine, to get drunk, is not to walk in wisdom. Here’s the principle … nothing or no one else should control your life Our goal is to progress toward a Spirit filled life.

Notice the alternative (and you cannot do both at the same time): "Instead, be filled with the Spirit." John R.W. Stott, in one of his books, calls our attention to four points in this challenge.

· It is in the imperative mood. The imperative mood means it is a command.
· It is in the plural form. That means it is addressed to all those reading it.
· It is in the passive voice. The passive voice means the filling will be done TO them.
· It is in the present tense. The present tense shows it is to be an ongoing experience.

So here's the picture. The wise man is not to be captivated, motivated and activated by the spirits in a bottle but rather he is to be captivated, motivated, and activated by the Holy Spirit who dwells in our life.

5. Am I involved in a strong community of faith? Ephesians 5:19
Now look at verse 19. The phrase "to one another" means that as they sing these songs of praise they affect the others who are with them. They bring encouragement to the others involved. Notice that Paul went on to declare that these songs and melodies were directed to the Lord.
He was obviously referring to worship. That's when Christians get together to sing hymns and songs. Placed in the context of the passage, Paul was giving another manifestation of walking in wisdom. Those who are foolish try to live life on their own power, with their own agenda, without ever acknowledging the reality of God.
On the other hand, those who are wise recognize that they need other people and they recognize their need for God so they make worship a regular part of their routine. Christianity is always practiced in a community.

6. Am I grateful for the life I’ve been given? Ephesians 5:20-21
Paul gave on last suggestion in verses 20-21. Walking in wisdom means to properly relate to God and to others.
· How should we relate to God? “with thanksgiving”. We should relate to God with gratitude that recognizes His blessings in our lives.
· When should we have that attitude? Paul said: "always."
· For what should we thank God? Paul said: "for everything."
· How should we relate to others? We should "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

Six questions for you to ask yourself throughout 2010. Happy New Year!

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