Wedding preparations are underway at my house, not because any of my daughters are getting married soon, but because they have friends and relatives who’ve set the date. As bridesmaids, my girls have been given some of the responsibility for planning the weddings and getting things ready. One wedding is a year from now, the other is sooner. But the preparations are happening now.
I’m still studying Ephesians, where Paul wrote:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise
Who Are the Wise?
According to God, there are two kinds of people in this world: the wise and the foolish. Jesus characterizes people in the same way.
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
—Jesus, Matthew 7:24-25
So then, the wise are those who build their lives on the Rock; the foolish are those who don’t.
Jesus warns believers to be wise in the parable of the ten virgins. In the story, the bridesmaids (believers) wait to escort the bridegroom into the wedding feast (Matthew 25). Jewish weddings generally took place at night, and usually the bridegroom arrived to claim his bride as the evening star was rising. In the parable, the bridegroom (Jesus) is delayed far into the night, so long that the bridesmaids get drowsy (grow old) and sleep (die).
A loud voice announces the coming of the groom, and all the virgins awake, scrambling to trim their lamps for the wedding procession. The women who were wise enough to prepare before nightfall are ready for his coming. The foolish maids who didn’t prepare adequately ahead of time find that it’s too late to make ready for the groom’s arrival.
Paul warns believers to look carefully how they walk, to be wise and not foolish. Thankfully, Paul immediately instructs us about living wisely in Ephesians 5 and 6. Let’s concentrate on Ephesians 5:15-21.
Six Ways to Walk in Wisdom
- Make the best use of your time (verse 16)
In the parable of the virgins, making the best use of time is the critical difference between success and failure. The time for preparation is now, before it’s too late. Live every day as if it’s your last.
- Understand the will of God (verse 17)
Build your life on the rock. Prepare. Be diligent. The will of God is to hear the words of Christ and do them.
- Be filled with the Spirit (verse 18)
How can you act wisely if you’re not in your right mind? Paul warns specifically against being drunk with wine because it interferes with the ability to think. However, there are other ways to cloud judgment. Could it be that we should avoid situations and places where “mob think” happens? Where people urge each other on to act without thinking? To be foolish? Paying attention to the indwelling Spirit requires a clear head.
- Sing spiritual songs to one another (verse 19)
Spiritual songs lead to wisdom. David knew it. Solomon knew it, too. Music is used in all cultures to teach and aid memory. Spiritual songs aid spiritual growth. We shouldn’t be surprised that they help us walk in wisdom.
- Live gratefully (verse 20)
Giving thanks to God keeps us focused on the Father, reminding us of His presence, providence, and care. Wisdom increases with prayer; wisdom decreases in its absence.
- Submit to others in reverence for Christ (verse 21)
Living at peace with others is a struggle against our human nature. Practicing submission in life leads to insights about relating to God we would otherwise miss. The relationship of the child of God to his Father. The relationship of the bride of Christ to her groom. The relationship of the servant to his master. And the flip side of the coin: the father to his child, the groom to his bride, and the master to his slave. We grow wise through practicing submission.
The wedding day is approaching. Evening is almost here. Are you living wisely?