As we discussed last week, Paul gives us many comparisons in his letter to the Church at Ephesus. We have a choice to be filled with one thing or to be filled with another – to be filled with what the world has to offer or to be filled with what God has to offer. We cannot choose both. We either choose one, or INSTEAD choose the other:
– Filled with the sin nature or instead filled with God so that we can grow each day to be more like Him
– Filled with ourselves or instead filled with love following the example of Christ’s sacrificial love for us
– Filled with immorality, impurity and greed or instead filled with thankfulness to God
– Filled with the darkness of the world or instead filled with the light from the Lord which produces what is good and right and true
– Filled with the what pleases you or instead fill your life with what pleases the Lord
In the next section of Scripture, Paul gives us another “instead” that continues with the thought that we have a choice to fill ourselves with what the world offers or fill ourselves with what God offers.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. INSTEAD, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph.5:15-20).
Paul warns us to be careful how we live. God has a plan for our lives and He wants us to be available to Him every moment of every day. His plan is for us to make the most of EVERY opportunity. We have all heard that verse before but have we considered the context that verse is coming from. It’s another either / or decision – filled with wine or filled with the Spirit; living like fools or like those who are wise.
There are some things we can fill our lives with that alter our ability to make the most of every opportunity. Paul uses the example of wine here. There are inherent dangers in the consumption of wine that set it apart from most other things we can consume. Paul warns here that it can ruin your life. Alcohol has the potential to alter our ability to make a good decision. It does not just quench our thirst but it influences us – it changes personalities, it breaks down inhibitions, it leaves you craving more.
But God says – crave ME! Don’t go looking for what the world has to offer or how the things of the world can bring you pleasure but let me be the One to bring you pleasure – to alter you into the person I want you to be. Be filled with My Spirit and spend your time giving praise to ME, giving thanks to ME. Understand what I want you to do! Beware of things like wine that will ruin the life that I have planned for you.
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone (Col. 4:2-6).
Be alert. Pray for many opportunities. Proclaim God’s message clearly. Live wisely. Make the most of every opportunity. This entire year God has focused my attention on His plan for my life. He created each of us for a purpose. He died on a cross so that we could serve Him, so that He could work through us to bring others to Christ.
God has a plan for our lives and He wants us to be available to Him every moment of every day. His plan is for us to make the most of EVERY opportunity. Let’s guard our hearts and our minds from ANYTHING that might take away our ability to do just that.