Ephesians 5:15-21 - Lectionary for Trinity 20
Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The apostle Paul warns the Ephesians, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16, ESV). In this command, it is clear that it is possible to act in a wise way, but also that due to evil in the world our efforts may be challenged.
It is important for Christians to recognize that God has made known the difference between wisdom and foolishness. Our own measures are not reliable. Wisdom, rather than being something we find deep within ourselves, comes from above, as a gift of God, as He opens our eyes to the Scripture. In short, if we want to understand our world, we need to learn from the God who created, redeemed, and sustains it all.
What of the evil in the world? We live in evil days, as did the Ephesians who first read Paul's letter. We are surrounded by people who, to paraphrase Orwell, say wrong is right, poverty is wealth, trash is treasure, and violent overthrow is the way of peace. The greater society mocks Christian values once they recognize the tie to Christianity. Christians have even been complicit in this, by showing indecision, treating truth as something negotiable, and too often overlooking our own sin and failure. As a result, we are in a cultural wasteland filled with toxicity and explosive ideas. The days are evil.
What is a Christian to do? We can't leave this world. We walk on in it. We pursue a fair understanding of our world and of God's wisdom. We confront sin in ourselves and in other Christians, calling for repentance which seeks God's restorative forgiveness in Christ. We do good in this world. Some will believe. Many will be influenced for good. Watch your step!
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