"So be careful how you live,"
Give care, be careful not just about how you eat, or how you sleep or exercise or do housework or business or how you do relationships or finances--but about how you live. Your precious life. It's all of it, all you have. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. Paul is speaking to these folks at a church in the town of Ephesus, holy and faithful followers of Jesus. As one who oversees and loves them he's letting them know--it matters how you live; give care.
"not as fools but as those who are wise."
And he's saying there a a couple possible ways they (we) might end up living. One is as fools, one is as wise. Both are possibilities. Thankfully we have the book of Proverbs and the whole Word of God in general and the Spirit of Wisdom, close access to the Spirit of Wisdom, so it is literally possible to live as those who are wise. Not just wise according to this tradition or that tradition or religion but truly wise according to the one source of wisdom because we can know wisdom by the Spirit. 1 Cor. 2. Yay.
"Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days."
Make. Make is a creative word. It makes me think of God being a Maker and us being makers in His image. Opportunity is something not yet realized, not yet manifested. It is the raw materials full of potential. It is the pile of clay, the pile of two by fours. Something has to be made. We have to make it. Sitting there with the clay in front of me, I have to exert my hand, my force, my skill and vision and give attention to create, to make. To make what? Something good. Paul is saying; these are evil days. God's people can be a force continually making, creating good in the world out of the raw material of potential surrounding us--light in dark places. Where is the opportunity? Where is the raw material and potential? Everywhere. The "every opportunity" he speaks of is just abundant all around us. I mean, you could be sitting in a room alone and there is an opportunity. Lots of them. To make something good. To be a maker.
Ok so if all this opportunity for making good surrounds us all the time, what are we to do? Its overwhelming and abundant. I feel I must repent. O God how much do I miss of this all the time? The possibilities of what to make are infinite. I think its a stewardship issue.
"Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do."
You don't just randomly take a hammer and nails and start hammering stuff together with no thought of your purpose. Try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. This is radical. Letting the Lord's desires determine our course. Paul is saying it is worth trying to understand what the Lord wants you to do rather than just going off with your project, one of a hundred million. Why not hit the jackpot by landing on that sweet spot of alignment with His desires?
"Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life."
He already said there were a couple ways to live, as fools or as wise. Here's a tip. If you are staggering around you can't make, can't make good; instead you are stuck on consuming and your own exerpience.
"Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you."
Woo hoo! Ok, so here is the key, Paul says. This total possession. Hey, then you will know what to make out of all the opportunities and potential, and you will have the power to do it. Awesome. Fill and control. Fill and control. Fill and control. Fill. Not any room for anything else. Control. Not any room for anyone else. Woh. So what happens then? Music!
"Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts."
Apparently a natural and universal outflow of this total possession by the Spirit is singing! Well that makes sense, if you are in love, it inspires you to sing. I think this also has to do with the idea of "making" the most of every opportunity because our words--word energy--mixed (soon-ker-an-noo-mee) with faith substance creates! (Check the book Quantum Faith by Annette Capps). That's how God created the universe--speaking the WORD, mixed with faith. A lot of faith that could really see far. Anyway this is how we will be speaking to one another if we are filled and controlled by the Spirit, says this text. And wonderful and lasting good is created as we do. Woven into something eternal that lasts in the heavens.
"And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
You won't be able to help it because it will be the Spirit speaking and He is just Crazy about God the Father and loves him and so you will just be saying "Thank you, Daddy!" all the time, like a little kid, in Jesus' name. Life overflows with goodness that is created when we live this way. What other way would I want to live?
Ah, I looked up the word in Greek translated "Make...." in the NLT is EXAGORAZO (ex-ag-or-ad'-zo)
It has a slightly different shade of meaning than what I was catching from the word "make." Hm. For future pondering.
by payment of a price to recover from the power of another
to ransom, buy off
metaph. of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic law at the price of his vicarious death
to buy up, to buy up for one's self, for one's use
to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well-doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own...
He cares about souls being rescued from the dominion of darkness. As we "make" the most of every opportunity, let it align with this priority.
I like to eat and drink and fly with and slog through and munch on and study and consider and wonder at and act out and cling to and wrestle with and plant and obey and savor and share discoveries of the Word of God in the Bible. These are some rough meditation notes.