See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Eph 5:15-17
Paul began his exhortations in Christian behavior in chapter 4 verse 1, with the general admonition to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. He followed this in verse 17 in negative terms with the call to no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind. Paul uses the Hebrew idiom ‘walk’ to discuss Christian behavior; he gives detail as to what behaviors are appropriate and what are not appropriate for the Christian between chapter 4:18 and 5:7. In chapter 5 verse 8, he again employs the term walk, issuing the command to: walk as children of light; again following the command by detailing the specific behaviors which characterize children of light.
In this final exhortation to walk in verse 15 of chapter 5, we are instructed: be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise. We all take care in those matters of life which matter most to us – our family, jobs, school, ministry, even our appearance. Here is an exhortation to take particular care over our Christian life in two specific areas.
First, making the most of our time. Time is a precious commodity. We all have the same number of hours in day, days in a week, and weeks in a year. Once it has passed, the wisest of men can retrieve it; yet it seems we waste so much of our time wishing that we could. While we cannot retrieve lost time, or create more time, we can make the best use of the time given us. We live in an age that spurns the idea of redeeming time. We are taught that leisure is the antidote for work, that entertainment is the antidote for boredom. Have you bought into this formula? What do your instincts lead you to do in your ‘free time?’ That is one of the best tests to see whether you are redeeming the time or not.
Secondly, the wise Christian is discerning what the will of the Lord is. We’ve already seen this to be a characteristic of children of light (5:10). The fact that this is repeated here again means that it is very important. There is little that is more important in day to day life than to discover God’s will. If you need wisdom in this area, simply ask God for it; He promises in James 1:5 to supply it liberally to you. God’s regular guidance of his people however, is not a matter of ‘hearing voices,’ or ‘extraordinary events;’ rather He leads us in the right paths. Understanding God’s will comes as we apply His Word to our circumstances. What commitments does the Lord want you to take on? What does he want you to drop? Who does He want you to visit? What Christian work does he want you to get involved in or give to? What hobbies are legitimate and which waste your time? How many extra hours should you put in at work? Have you tried to find out the answers to these questions by asking God for wisdom?