15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. — Ephesians 5:15-21
by Lydon Small
West Franklin Campus
If I were to ask you, “Who is the wisest person who has ever lived?” what would you say? Be careful—biblical wisdom is not the same thing as earthy smarts. Today, many look to tech moguls, business leaders, self-help gurus, or even to themselves to find the truest wisdom. In all these, incredibly true things can be known, but they fall short of the glorious or praiseworthy. It is much easier to be smart than it is to be biblically wise. The passage above exhorts us to live a life that is carefully characterized by wisdom. This kind of wisdom looks vastly different in our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.
In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul asks, “Where is the one who is wise?” We all want to be wise or to know those who are wise. Wisdom, however, isn’t found in the way you might think. In Proverbs 9 it says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To find wisdom, you have to die to your smarts (or to those who you think are smart) and hitch your wagon to the One who is all-wise, all-knowing, all-counseling: the Lord. This wisdom comes from outside of yourself.
This wisdom includes not only practical advice, but also spiritual advice. In the passage above, we are to understand the Lord’s will, be filled by the Spirit, speak to and remind one another of God’s goodness, live thankfully, submit to one another, and fear Christ. None of these things can be done in and of our natural selves, as there must be a spiritual component. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things…” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15a ESV).
So, why would we want to live this way—besides the obvious in the passage that implies endless satisfaction and joy by living this way? Because the days are evil. In this fallen world, people are grasping at straws to find the wisdom they need to be better spouses, parents, friends, and coworkers, all without understanding what true wisdom is. When we live like this, it looks different (and perhaps weird), but it can also be attractive.
In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul says God is ready to lavishly give us this wisdom and insight. God actually promises to provide it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV). The wisdom of God is compelling and is the answer to what we need. When we walk with Him, encounter Him in His Word, relish who He is and who we are in Him, it only makes sense to share this wisdom with others.
- If you are honest with yourself, where are you turning for wisdom?
- Who are those in your life who need to experience the wisdom of God?
- Knowing that the days are evil, how should this impact our sense of urgency?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.