Carpe Diem: Seize the Day! (Eph 5:15-17 )

Sermon Manuscript …

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day!

The lifestyle of the wise believer–Ephesians 5:15-17


Ever hear a child share a nugget of wisdom?  Listen to these proverbs written by kids.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.

When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.

Never ask your 3-year-old brother to hold a tomato.

Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

Sometimes your best move is blocked by your own checkers.

Don’t expect your friends to be as excited about your “100” as you are.

Don’t say, “The last one is a rotten egg,” unless you’re sure there’s a slow kid behind you.

If you want a kitten, start out asking for a horse.

You can’t start over just because you’re losing the game.

You can’t be everyone’s best friend.

If you want someone to listen to you, whisper it.

Sometimes you have to take the test before you finish studying.

Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.

If you don’t like the birthday girl don’t go to the party.

Do you need wisdom?  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Turn to Ephesians 5:15 to 17 where God calls us to walk in wisdom.  As we are teaching this book verse-by-verse, we are seeking to hear what God has to say, not making it say what we want but what God intended, and today we arrive at a very practical and life-changing section of Scripture.  Read with me starting in verse 15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  God is simply saying, get your act together.

Now remember, if the Lord has given you this amazing salvation described in chapters 1 to 3, then live it out in chapters 4 to 6, or walk it.  Walk means lifestyle, so what’s our lifestyle supposed to be?

In 4:1, you will walk worthy–live life as a continual act of worship

In 4:17, walk uniquely–live differently than the world lives

In 5:2, walk lovingly–live selflessly sacrificial like Christ did for us

In 5:8, walk as light–pointing to the Gospel, and now

In 5:15, walk in wisdom–making the most of every opportunity

God says, “Christian, seize the day, make it count–don’t waste your life, be a difference-maker, time is short, so get on it!”

Notice the breakdown of the text.  There are three commands–be careful, do not be foolish, and understand the will of God.  And there are two strong contrasts–not unwise but wise, and not foolish but understanding.  Notice again the outline of the sermon is designed to reflect the emphasis and meaning that Paul gives as he wrote this letter to the Ephesians, and today for us Murrietians, Temeculizens, Hemetarians.

Today if you are battling with making a good decision, struggling over a life direction, wondering which path is wisest, if you want to look back on 10 to 40 years and know you used it wisely, or if you are wondering how God wants you to relate to people, then today is for you.  How does Paul begin?

#1  Watch where you’re going

We have a dog, and we have to be careful where we step in the backyard because there are doggie land mines.  We Christians have to be careful where we step in life, because there are directions which we can head that are off-center, and there are things we can step in that will make a horrible mess.  So in verse 15 Paul says, “Therefore be careful how you walk.”

What is the first thing you should notice about verse 15?  Whenever you see the word “therefore”, you have to ask, “Wherefore is that ‘therefore’ there for?”  Look back now at the previous verse (5:14), “For this reason it says, ‘Awake sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”  The “therefore” refers immediately back to the apostle’s call for make-believers to turn to Christ, and real believers to fire-up for Christ.

But the actual first word in the Greek text in verse 15 is the small word “be”, which really is more accurately translated “to see”.  The idea Paul is trying to get across is watch out–pay attention, notice this.  That verb “to see” is linked with the word careful, which has the idea of accuracy or exactness, and carries the idea of alertness.  As you walk through the spiritual mine field of the world, you are to open your eyes, look around, see things accurately and remain alert for danger–watch where you are going.

One of the most crucial jobs on a ship is that of lookout.  Today that is accomplished electronically through radar (unless you are the 900-foot container carrier Cosco Busan, which hit a span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge a couple of weeks ago).  Back in the old days, ships had lookouts who stood in a crow’s nest on the highest place on the mast in order to spot trouble.  The Titanic had two lookouts the night it sank, but was traveling too fast for the warning from the lookouts to do any good–they couldn’t avoid hitting the iceberg regardless of the warning.

Like a lookout on your life, you are to watch where you are going and take note of where you are headed.  Be careful how you live, and the direction of your lifestyle (verse 15), be careful how you walk.  Hey single–if you don’t pursue undistracted devotion to Christ now, you’ll not be ready for marriage when God brings “the one”.  Hey couple–if you don’t make lifestyle choices that demonstrate apart from Christ, there is no one you cherish more than your spouse, you’re gonna’ struggle in your marriage.  Hey parents–if you don’t model God’s purpose for living on this planet to your children, they will pursue a different purpose.

Verse 15, “Be careful how you walk.”  Walk is everything you do the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you fall asleep at night–it’s how you and I live everyday life.  “Hey, be more specific”?  Okay.  “Be careful how you walk” means three things.

ONE–Seeing accurately

Again, the verb “be” is actually the command “to see”–God desires us believers to see through the lens of the Scripture and a healthy theology.  God is saying, put on your biblical glasses.  Let me ask you–do you see things biblically?  I am not merely talking about seeing a lot of reported news as gossip, or not calling alcoholism a disease but calling it what the Bible calls it, the sin of drunkenness.  But ask yourself these questions:

Are we truly like Christ if we are not fishers of men?

Are we truly light if we do not have any non-Christian friends?

Are we truly obedient if we don’t minister our giftedness in the church?

Are we truly godly if we are not faithful to serve?

Being careful how we walk is seeing things biblically—but it also means . . .

TWO–Living impactfully

Therefore be careful how you walk.  By using the verb walk and connecting it with a “therefore” to the previous verse, calling us to respond to the Gospel in verse 14, Paul is telling us to live our lives impactfully.  Don’t wander aimlessly through this life–you and I are here to share Christ and show-off Christ through the Gospel.  One more time–why are you here?  To glorify God!  Can you do that better on earth or heaven?  In heaven, where you’re perfect.  Then why are we here?  To do that which we can’t do in heaven?  What can we do here that we can’t do in heaven?  Sin and share.  Living impactfully means to share how to get saved by God, from God and for God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ.  And finally, being careful how you walk means . . .

THREE–Planning specifically

Because Paul uses the verb “to see” with the word “careful”, which means alert or exactness, he’s implying that we specifically plan where we are headed–to have a schedule and direction so we can live a life that pleases God in all things.  One writer said, define life forward, then live it backward.  That means to take a future goal and bring it back into your present everyday living.

To be careful how you walk is to have a budget for your money, and a schedule for your time that you try to follow.  It means single, if you want a godly marriage, then you need to become a godly man or godly woman, then find each other pursuing undistracted devotion to Christ, ministering your gift and sharing the Gospel.  The only person you should marry is someone who loves Christ more than you, and that person will be about His work–period.  You won’t find him/her in a bar.

Have a direction, know where you are going and plan specifically.  Don’t be like Christopher Columbus, who when seeking to find the New World, when he left didn’t know where he was going, when he got there didn’t know where he was, and then when he got back didn’t know where he’d been.

Now look again at verse 15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise.”  This next phrase is not a separate point, but a general example, belonging to the phrase “be careful how you walk.”  So generally, what does a careful walk look like?

First  Generally–live not unwisely but wisely

Verse 15b says, “Not as unwise men, but as wise.”  Wisdom is being able to live life consistent with God’s truth.  Wisdom is not great intellectual knowledge, but an understanding of God’s revealed will and a consistent application of God’s Word to life.  Remember, Ephesians is about living who you are.  At salvation a believer becomes wise, yet he or she has the potential to continually grow in this wisdom.  Like 2 Timothy 3:15 says, “You have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

When you are saved, you begin your new life in Christ with all the wisdom you need to live for Christ, but you are also able to continually grow in wisdom, so you can grow more mature, more faithful and more productive in His service.  Maturity is the increasing of our obedience to the truth and shortening the time we are in the flesh.  Maturity is more than an accumulation of facts, it is truth lived out.

You may know all the statistics about how many people’s lives are saved by wearing seatbelts, but if you refuse to take the extra time to reach over, pull it across you and click it shut, you are not wise.  You can know the facts, but you’re not wise unless you live them.  Wisdom is being able to live life according to the Bible.  When we get off-course in living, then we are living as unwise people rather than as wise–walk wise.

Someone has estimated that if all of man’s accumulated knowledge from the beginning of recorded history to 1845 were represented by one inch, what he learned from 1845 to 1945 would amount to three inches, and what he learned from 1945 until 1975 would represent the height of the Washington monument.  Since then it has exploded.  Yet with all this knowledge, wisdom has not increased.

This is true for some Christians, where they know more and more which is good, but it doesn’t express itself in life which is bad.  So if I am unwise, how do I become wise?  Three how-to points . . .

One  Make sure you know the source of wisdom

Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  In chapter 5 Paul has been warning of false believers in the Church.  Do you have a true relationship with God?  It’s impossible to have His wisdom if you don’t.  Many people know how to look Christian, they can act religious, yet do not have a living relationship with Christ.  No make-believer has God’s wisdom, but all true believers do to some degree.

Two  Ask for His wisdom

Proverbs 2:6a, “For the Lord gives wisdom.”  And James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  Believers long to be close to Christ, and seek His wisdom in this life, therefore they passionately ask for His wisdom.

Three  Meditate on His Word, the beginning of wisdom

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  God does not give us wisdom in a vacuum–rather, God uses His Bible to impart His wisdom to us, especially when His Word is mixed with some life trials, prayer and fellowship–wisdom is gained.  Wisdom is being able to live life consistent with God’s truth.  So generally, do not be unwise–now Paul gives a specific example of how to be careful how you walk.

Second  Specifically–make the most of every opportunity

Look at verse 16, “making the most of your time.”  The phrase “making the most” means to redeem or buy back.  It comes from a root verb meaning to buy in the marketplace or redeem a slave.  Here it means to take advantage of every opportunity, to buy up the time, spend your time wisely, to snap up each open door.  And because the participle is middle voice, Paul is saying you, yourself, take full advantage of any opportunity.  You, Christian, snap up every opportunity that comes.

God is not condemning a day off, or vacation away, or finding a moment to relax–God is saying to you, do not waste your life.  You’ve got one shot at making your life count–this is it.  You don’t get a second run, there is no do-over, no life mulligans.  Seize the day–here is your one ticket, make this one pass count.

I enjoy downhill skiing–not as much as I used to, but I did like it when I could afford it.  Skiing is very expensive.  I had all my own equipment, but the lift ticket can cost anywhere from $20 to $100+.  But just having a lift ticket is not skiing–you can sit in the lodge all day, or walk around the parking lot trying to look cool, throw snow balls, sit by the fire, tell stories, recheck your equipment, and on and on,  But to use your ticket wisely, you have to get in line and ski downhill that day, since most tickets are only good for that one day, and they are absolutely worthless the next day.

The greatest days of skiing were the spring days in the middle of the week after a big snow when the sky was clear and no one was there.  Those were the days you really seemed to redeem the value of that ticket–you got your money’s worth, cutting new snow, blazing trails, screaming down runs and making unlimited trips up and down the mountain.

That is what Paul is talking about here–making the best possible use of your life.  Like a prudent merchant, make the best choices with the situations God has placed you in.  Buy it up–seize the day!  Now let’s be clear, Paul–what are we making the most of?  Verse 16 says make the most of our time.  Okay, but what kind of time?

Paul did not here use cronos, the term for clock time, the continuous time that is measured in hours, minutes, and seconds.  Rather he used kairos, which is a measured, allocated, fixed season–God has set boundaries on our lives, and our opportunity for service exists only within those boundaries.  Right now it is Christmastime, a general period of weeks which has certain characteristics, a broad overall season.  You can take advantage of it for God’s glory, or be overwhelmed by it just like everyone else.

Many of you have experience bedtime–parents say, “It’s time for bed,” a specific moment where action is taken.  If you have kids, bedtime can be a very memorable time.  I realize no FBC family ever struggles with bedtime.  If you are new here, just by coming to our church changes the very nature of bedtime.  What do I mean?  Every child of FBC quietly and quickly gets ready for bed.  The kids of FBC are very unique–I have heard 5-year-olds say things like, “I thought it was getting late–I really need to get my rest so I can be alert for tomorrow.  Good evening father and mother.”  It is only at other churches where I have heard of some parents who actually have to bribe, threaten, plead, wrestle, even tie their children into bed for the night.

Again, ”time for bed” is not a broad period of time–it is a specific moment for action.  You can buy it up for God’s glory, tell stories, talk to your kids, pray with them, listen to them or make it even a worse battle than it already is, like all those kids from other churches.  The fundamental idea of time in verse 16 is to seize the moment.  Each moment of time is here for an instant, then immediately becomes history.  The NIV says, “making the most of every opportunity.”

“Carpe Diem”, the Latin phrase for seize the day literally means “pluck the day”, as in the plucking of fruit–enjoy the sweetness.

Spend your life on the things that matter.  Invest your life wisely.  Again, “make the most” is in the middle voice.  You spend your life–you make the most of it, you don’t waste it, you make it count.

There are repeated warnings in Scripture that stand as beacons to those who think they will always have time to do what they should:

Genesis 6–the people during the time of Noah

Matthew 25–the five foolish virgins who let their oil run out before the bridegroom came then were shut out of the wedding feast

Luke 12–the self-satisfied farmer who had planned to build bigger barns to store his crops but God said to him, “You fool, this very night your soul is required of you.”

James 4:13-14–the warning, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.’”

Ephesians 5–Paul pleads for us to make the most of our time immediately after he pleads for us to walk wisely rather than foolishly

Outside of purposeful disobedience of God’s Word, the most spiritually foolish thing a Christian can do is to waste opportunity, to fritter away his life in trivia and in half-hearted service of the Lord.  Now it is crucial to understand the two key aspects of redeeming the time.

There is effective effort–doing what is really important

There is efficient effort–carefully not wasting any moment of time

Philipp Melanchthon, the great 16th-century reformer kept a record of every wasted moment and took his list to God in confession at the end of each day.  It is no wonder God used him in such great ways.  Look back over this past week–to what degree in the use of your time did it reflect the priorities God has for your life?

What are some time-wasters in your life that have no eternal benefit?

If someone were to look at your weekly schedule, what would they say are the most important things in your life?  Do you even have a schedule?

This is a battle you will fight your entire life, but today you need to make some difficult decisions about your time.  Most days each of you are given opportunities to share the Gospel, train your children, disciple another believer, work on your marriage, serve someone, show compassion, exalt God with your words–to do those things that will make a difference in heaven.  Are you seizing the day–carpe diem?

Now Paul tells us why.  Main command–be careful how you walk, generally–not as unwise men, but as wise—specifically.  Verse16 says, “Making the most of your time.”  Now why be careful how we walk?

Third  Live with urgency–we’re in a battle

Notice the phrase in 16b, “because the days are evil.”  Evil in classic Greek meant troubling, disastrous and wretched.  Then as evil is used in verse 16, it means bad and unkind as it relates to people, and morally anything in contrast to our good God.  How money is often spent today is evil.  How some parents refuse to raise their children is evil.  How people treat each other is often evil.

Just this week the high school gal who got so depressed she committed suicide because her new online friend became mean–then they find out her online friend was not a high schooler, but a grown woman, a neighbor who didn’t like her.  How people treat each other is often evil.  How some spouses treat each other is often evil.  And how people drive on Winchester Boulevard by the mall is evil.  Our days are evil because they’re controlled by the god of this age who is opposed to the one true God and His rule.  We are in evil days because Satan will do anything to prevent the proclamation of the good news.

Now remember where the apostle Paul is and feel his passion.  Although evil plots against him caused him to be imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel as He writes these words, Paul never let that stop him.  He used every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, even while he was in prison.  Remember Philippians 1:12 to 14, “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.”

This is what Paul is actually saying in Ephesians 5–evangelism is the motive behind what Paul has been talking about in Ephesians 5:15 to 17.  We know this for three simple reasons.

ONE–because the same words used in verses 15 to 17 of Ephesians 5 are also the word choices Paul uses in the parallel book of Colossians 4:5 to 6 which speak of evangelism.  Ephesians and Colossians were written at the same time and mirror the same content, so look what Paul says in Colossians 4:5 and 6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Both Colossians 4 and Ephesians 5 speak of evangelism.)

TWO–because a true Gospel is the biggest threat to our evil enemy, and the one thing he wants to stop most of all.  This is why Paul contrasts evil with making the most of opportunities.

THREE–we also read that Paul is in jail, buying up every opportunity to share the Gospel as he writes the Ephesians.  Don’t miss the point–if you want to seize the day, then share the Gospel, be a fisher of men, be intentional about sharing the good news that Jesus Christ died for sin, rose from the dead and can give new life now and eternal life forever to those who look to Him for forgiveness.

These days are evil because they don’t point to Jesus Christ as your Creator, your Master and the only way to get right with God.  These days are evil because our enemy wants us comfortable, complacent and indifferent to that which is most important.  This is why Paul says in Galatians 1:4, “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”  The answer to time usage, the answer to evil days, the answer to living wise is to live, show and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And did you notice what Paul does not say in verse 16?  Look at it, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  Paul doesn’t say fear these evil days or isolate yourself from lost people–no, Paul says walk wise by seizing every opportunity to share Christ during these evil days.  Yes, we have to protect our children, but not by isolating them from the world–by training them progressively how to live in the world, believing in the power of the Gospel to change this evil world through the transformation of individual lives.

How do your kids learn this?  By you living the Gospel, dying for the Gospel, praying about the Gospel being shared, and growing in your passion for the lost all around you.  Do they see you living out our purpose on this planet?

Unrelenting warfare exists between the God of heaven and the god of this age.  Believers are not to let the god of this age intimidate them, but take advantage of every opportunity in this evil environment to show and share the Gospel.  You will only be like Christ when you become a fisher of men.  Don’t merely get angry about evil, don’t merely run from evil, but remember that you were evil–then let your heart break for those who are poor, blind, naked, lost, enslaved, dying and headed for hell just like you were.

Because the days are evil, our opportunities for freely sharing and showing off the Gospel are often limited.  But when we have opportunity to share and show the Gospel for His name’s sake, we should do so with all we have–buy it up.  Like Moses said in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.”  Next Paul tells us not to overreact with another command.

#2  Don’t lose your mind

Look at verse 17, “So then do not be foolish.”  God says don’t be stupid!  The idea is don’t be anxious or don’t panic—to not be foolish is to not panic.  Why does Paul say don’t panic?  Because we are supposed to make the most of our opportunities, to reach the lost with the Gospel and we are in an urgent battle with evil working against us in our mission to share the good news.

But Paul says don’t be dumb about it–don’t run off in all directions.  Don’t start driving without knowing where you are going, just going faster.  Don’t run around like a crazy person trying to reach lost people.  Paul says in verse 17, don’t be panicked, foolish.  Sadly, this is not FBC’s problem today.  Our problem is not that we put too much urgent energy into reaching lost people–generally our problem is that we don’t put any urgency, little energy, and a tiny effort into reaching lost people.

But as Paul wrote the Ephesian church, he warns them not to be all passion and no direction when it came to proclaiming the Gospel.  Though not our problem, it is an issue the Church faces today.  There are churches, who in their wonderful zeal to reach the lost have foolishly compromised the Gospel or compromised God’s Word in some manner.  Recently one of the founding leaders of the seeker church movement confessed that their approach to church is wrong–after more than two decades they came to the realization that their approach in the long haul produced false, weak or immature believers.  In their passion to reach the lost, the seeker movement redesigned the church so that the sole purpose of Sunday was to reach the lost.  In doing so, they altered what the Bible teaches about God, the Church, and worship–many even altered the Gospel to the point where it was no longer the Gospel.  They ended up compromising and contradicting God’s Word in order to reach lost people, and the result was false, weak or immature believers.

No one has the right to alter God’s Word so that it fits their agenda, even if the agenda is good.  Some in this movement remove the word sin from their message, because they feel it is offensive.  Sadly, some in our camp remove themselves so far from the world, we have no message to give.

A passion for the lost is crucial–it is one of the main reasons we are left here.  But do not panic, don’t be foolish–never violate God’s Word, never compromise the message of the Gospel to do it.  Don’t lose your mind.  Now do you see where Paul is going in Ephesians 5?  Verse 2 says love like Jesus, don’t live immorally in verse 3, or speak about the gross things pagans do in verse 4, or you could end up actually being lost in verse 5 to 7.  Be a light so you can share the Gospel with those who are lost in verse 7 to 14, but watch where you are headed, wisely making the most of every opportunity to share–be urgent but don’t panic.  In other words don’t just not sin, but pursue your mission.  Don’t merely flee sin, but pursue being like Christ.  So how do we stay on track?

#3  Go after the Lord’s will

Verse 17 ends with, “But understand what the will of the Lord is.”  To “understand” is to give the mind to something so as to get hold of it.  Paul says yes, have an urgency, but don’t run off in all directions–focus on, get a hold of, grab on to God’s will, what God wants.  We are not to run around half-cocked, doing all sorts of activities.

I don’t know about you, but I have to tell you, I don’t need any more to do.  I love working hard, but I don’t need more activity.  By God’s design, I am only good at a couple of things anyway, and they keep me pretty busy.  I honestly don’t have time for good things anymore–I only have time for the best things.  I need to give myself to the Lord’s will.

You may not like it here at FBC, because we are very focused.  We refuse to play church, we don’t have time for it.  We are committed to pursuing the Lord’s will–the 3 G’s for God’s glory.  We pursue the Great Commandment, the Great Commission and the Gospel, and the 6 E’s–Exalting, Equipping, Encouraging, Empathizing, Evangelizing and Establishing other churches.

There is a lot to do and we do not want to get off track.  Those are the Lord’s priorities, therefore they are our priorities.  They are the Lord’s will, therefore they will be our will.  They are what our Father wants, therefore we want them too.

Paul says try to grab onto this–the Lord’s will is found in God’s Word.  You all can become intimate with the Lord’s will because all of you have a Bible.  The Lord’s plan for your life is different than His will.  He has a plan for your life–who to marry, where to serve, what car to buy, what job to work.  And His specific plan for your life is discovered by you living God’s will.  In other words, God makes His plan clearer to those who are living by the Word of God, in prayerful Spirit-led dependence 24/7.  As you keep your hand in His hand, He will lead you the way He wants you to go.

So you ask, “Is this gal the one I should marry?”  Don’t say, as one guy did, “Well, if she has the name of my favorite childhood toy, she must be the one–her name is Xbox.”  Don’t say, “I know she must be the one,” if you are currently fornicating with her, since at that point you are no longer in God’s will, and therefore unable to know His specific plan for your life.  Plus, in your continual disobedience you are raising questions as to whether either of you is saved.  Do walk according to the Word of God, do walk in wisdom pursuing God’s purposes, and do walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God.  Then God will make His plan about this gal clearer to you.

God leads those who truly stick close to Him.  Today are you watching where your life is headed, or are you floating?  Are you walking according to truth or just knowing a new truth?  Are you making the most of every opportunity to share Christ, or are you isolated?  Are you living with urgency and pursuing God’s will?  You say, “Not fully, Chris—how can I change?”

1 Grow in wisdom, by living the Scripture

Stop the habit of merely wanting to learn something new, and start the habit of always applying one truth to your life each day.  Today ask yourself, am I investing my time, money, energy, skills, and other resources wisely?  What am I doing to grow in wisdom?  Are there any parts of my life where I have not rejected folly?

2 Grow in urgency, pursuing God’s purposes

Build God’s priorities into your week.  Schedule time for encouraging others, showing compassion to the hurting, and sharing the Gospel with the lost.  Don’t let week after week go by waiting for something to happen.  If His will is not reflected in your week, it is not a part of your life walk.

3 Grow in relational intimacy with Christ

About 30 years after Ephesians was written, the apostle John wrote to the Ephesian church and said in Revelation 2:4b to 5b, “You have left your first love. 5 . . . repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.”  Do you know what happened?  They didn’t repent, the candlestick was removed, and there was never another church in that city.  They had great doctrine, but lost their intimacy with Christ.  Don’t repeat their mistake–stay intimate with Christ through prayer and the Word.

4 Grow deeply dependent

I am so proud, I think I can get through life without feeding on His Word, without talking to Him in prayer, without sharing the Gospel with the lost, without gathering for corporate worship and not pay any consequence in my walk with Christ.  Paul told us today only fools think that way–the path of wisdom is a life of dependence . . . and finally

5 Grow desperate for Christ–let’s pray


About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.