Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. (Col 4:5, Eph 5:15-16)
Wisdom is only manifested through how one responds to opportunity. Why would Paul write this twice? In choosing ‘Maximizing Opportunity’ as the theme for the Freshers’ Outreach Mission 2017, we recognize that the new Academic Year is an opportunity, joining University in First Year is an opportunity, look around and you will see another opportunity, and more so, life is an opportunity! We are therefore called upon to live wisely, and there are seven actions that Ephesians 5 brings out to elaborate this way of life – how to live wisely:
- Find out what Pleases the Lord; understand what the Lord’s will is (v.10, 17). Learn and list many things which are the Lord’s will for you and keep them in your mind and heart; revise them, re-read them, hear them again and again from good peers and church elders Fill your mind with this knowledge that it may enlighten your path.
- Put off – have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness (v.11, 18). The list of things you must put off must also be clear; because temptations come from within, you are conscious of what needs to be put off in your heart and mind. Do not end at mere knowledge – act! And the action is simple: Put off!
- exPose evil (v.11). When evil is exposed, us is further shunned. When it is not exposed, one may turn back to it under the cover of public ignorance [they do not and will not know…]. Therefore, speak about what you have put off, and what you need to put off – so you will be supported and assisted by brothers and sisters on the same journey of living wisely.
- Make the most of every opPortunity (v.16). Do your best today with the opportunity at hand, and you will not regret tomorrow wishing and wishing, when the season is already gone!
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18). On your own the actions above may be difficult; in fact, Jesus says, ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’. Therefore, do not trust yourself – you need the Holy Spirit. Having made up your mind to live wisely, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you in that decision and journey.
- Praise the Lord and Give thanks (v.19-20). There is a lot to complain about, but there is so much more to thank God for. Choose where to focus. As for Paul, his encouragement is that we focus on the later – praise the Lord with friends and give thanks to God always. You will have less stress, and you will be a happy person.
- Grow relationships out of reverence for Christ (v.21). Relationships of all types are important. Relate wisely, relate carefully, honour your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, grow your circle of friends without prejudice – all these out of reverence for Jesus Christ.