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Get wisdom from the Spirit

Ephesians 5:17-18 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

Wisdom comes with experience. We have to have lived a while and walked in certain circumstances to really gain wisdom. It doesn’t come free and it doesn’t come from an easy life lived in luxury.

Likewise, we can’t gain wisdom through means like getting drunk. While that may seem like a statement that goes without saying, it should be pointed out that lots of people think they’re pretty smart when they drink too much. It’s not the way to go to get anywhere that matters.

The way we should really look to get understanding is through seeking God’s will. If we allow Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit and to work in our lives, we are much better off than if we allow other things to fill us. The true path to enlightenment is through submission to God.

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Use your time wisely

Ephesians 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 

There’s a lot of talk in the Bible about wisdom, a lot of direction on how to walk as someone who is wise. It’s pretty clear that God is for us being wise, but not just in our own understanding. He wants us to pursue His ways and His wisdom.

With only so many hours in the day, our schedules can fill up pretty quickly. If we’re not careful, they’ll be full of things that aren’t all that important. The entertainment we cram into our day, the selfish ambitions we seek after, those are all time wasters when we could be moving into the will of God.

He’s doing what He’s doing, with or without us, but the wise person knows to jump on the wave and go with God’s flow. It’s a foolish person who intentionally rejects the will of God to go after some temporary thing to be had on this earth.

Be careful how you use your time. God’s given you 24 hours in a day to live out the life He’s called you to. He’s given you an instruction book, a Helper, and a family to aid you in doing it all. Make the right choice: be who you were created to be.

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Light is a gift

Ephesians 5:13-14 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

It’s no secret that more crime happens in the darkness of night. Those who wish to remain unseen work in the dark. To have light shined upon them would be to expose their deeds. This is true literally, but it’s also very true spiritually.

There’s darkness in our hearts because of sin. Because of our predisposed sinful nature, we move towards that darkness and embrace it; we’re not inclined to move towards the light. That would expose our hidden secrets. It’s painful when the lights get turned on after we’ve been in the dark for a long time.

The light is a gift, though. While it may be the last thing we desire, the light wakes us up. By exposing what’s in the darkness, it frees us to really live. If Christ lives in you, which He does if you’re His follower, then light is something to love, not something to avoid.

So wake up, o sleeper! You’ve been given a new life to live. Let the light shine and work in and through you.

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When evil is the norm

Ephesians 5:11-12 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 

When we live in a world that surrounds us with evil and sinful deeds, how can we even recognize what’s right and wrong anymore? When wrong is called right, how can we escape the inevitable pull of the world into the darkness?

We’re called through this passage in God’s Word to not only refuse to take part in the sinful acts of the world, but to expose them. Just like shining a light into a dark room can cause the bugs to scatter, shedding the light of God’s Word on the evil of the day causes a reaction.

We’re not told specifically to call people out in a harsh way, but rather to lovingly shine the light of the gospel on the brokenness of the world we live in.  The grace of God in Jesus Christ should show through our actions as we refuse to embrace the darkness. Those who have their sin exposed should be left wanting to look to God, and we should be ready to tell them about Him (1 Peter 3:15).

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How to be a light

Ephesians 5:8-10 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Before we’re rescued from our sin, before we put of faith in Jesus to forgive us, we pretty much do whatever we want, yet we’re slaves to our sin, unable to actually make choices that will please God. Once we’ve been saved we’re given God’s help to know what pleases Him. The problem is that sometimes we try to walk back into the darkness instead of remaining in the light.

Many a Christian has asked how far they’re able to go with this or that before it becomes a sin. That’s not how following Jesus works though! It’s not about finding the line and figuring out how much can be done before it’s wrong. It’s about trying to learn what pleases God and doing that. Is that how you live your life?

The Apostle Paul urges us to walk as children of the light, which is what we are once we’ve been adopted into the family of God. We’re not in darkness anymore, we’re not slaves to sin. Make no mistake, we will still sin, but we’re not captive to the sinful heart anymore. When we make choices to cross the line, it’s on us. It’s not because we didn’t know better and it’s not because we couldn’t help it. It’s because we chose the darkness.

We have been given the greatest gift to help us live as God wants us to live. He dwells in the hearts of believers, giving us His guidance and assurance. It’s amazing when you think of just how much God wants us to succeed in following Him. He’s rooting for us to win!

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Don’t believe everything you hear

Ephesians 5:6-7 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them

People will say anything if it means making a sale in today’s economy. There are literally thousands of claims made everyday for products that will not hold up to them. The worst part is, the people trying to get you to buy them know very well they won’t deliver and they don’t care as long as you buy.

That sounds so shady, doesn’t it? We imagine that only the most sinister of characters would ever do such a thing to another person, but in reality many deceive themselves before deceiving others. When you’ve talked yourself into thinking that it’s justifiable to scam someone else then it seems to be no big deal.

Then there are people in our lives who talk us into the little things, those little compromises here and there that seem like they aren’t sins because we’ve defined them as something other than acts against God. This passage from Ephesians says that to believe someone’s lies is to become partners with them.

Now look back at verse 5 and recognize that Paul was still talking about sexual immorality here in verses 6 and 7. The world lies to us about what is acceptable sexually and believing that sin is ok is to become partners with the sexually immoral. They use empty words and so often we believe them. “This particular act isn’t actually sex,” “God never said this was wrong,” “It depends on what your definition of “is” is.”

Let’s stop believing the lies by fine-tuning our ability to recognize the truth. We do that through learning God’s voice through His Word. To know Him is to recognize an impostor with ease.

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Don’t make an idol of sex

Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

It seems impossible today to escape from the constant deluge of sexual content streaming into our homes, our workplaces, even our schools. Everyone is exposed to sexually immoral media everyday and it’s sold as a completely natural thing to embrace.

God has a different idea about sex, however. He calls certain things good and other things wrong and immoral. It’s not always about what’s good and what’s bad though. Even a good thing can be a bad thing when it takes the place of God. When we think about sex too much, talk about sex too much, and seek after sex too much, we make it an idol.

Isn’t it interesting that this passage in Ephesians talks about both sexual immorality and idolatry as if they were one and the same? We can idolize many things: wealth, career, respect, fashion, but all too often the thing we place above all others is sex. It was the same in the Apostle Paul’s day and nothing has changed. Anything we prioritize more than God is an idol and He calls us to put it away and look to Him first and foremost.

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The fruit of the Spirit – Patience

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…patience

Patience is never a subject that Christians want to hear a message about. We’ve all experienced praying for patience, only to have the worst day ever. This may be where the saying “Be careful what you wish for” came from. It seems that when we pray for patience, the Lord gives us some training.

But we should all strive to show patience, so that others may see that something different in us. We must be the ones in the frustrating situation who are keeping a cool head. This is an open door to witnessing to nonbelievers. When we keep our cool, even though everyone around us is losing theirs, people may ask us how it’s so. We must walk through that open door.

If we are to bear fruit as a witness to our Savior, we must have patience to deal with all things that come our way. If we do not have patience with nonbelievers, we will not show them love. If we do not have patience, we will not show kindness in a world that lacks it. Without patience, there is no self-control, and so on and so forth.

To bear any fruit of the spirit, we must exercise patience.

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The fruit of the Spirit – Peace

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…peace

Love…joy…and now peace. The fruit of the spirit begins with three very related attributes that a Christ follower should exemplify. Related because the first leads to the second, and the second leads to the third. Without love, we would have no joy; and with no joy, we could have no peace. This means that, indirectly and directly, we cannot have peace without love.

Peace is a byproduct. If one merely strives for peace, but does not achieve the other fruit of the Spirit, peace will not be reached. Much the same can be said for the remainder of the fruit. And it all starts with love.

Peace can be a very elusive thing in our time. With our world constantly growing more busy, one can barely find the time to think about peace, let alone obtain it. It doesn’t help that we’re told from every source around us that we should only look out for ourselves and our own pleasure. The lie of the world is that we will gain peace by seeking the things of this world and thinking only of selfish ambition. But peace will never be reached in this way.

True peace, the kind that Christ promises, cannot be caught by trying to catch peace. No, it is a byproduct of a Christ-centered attitude and heart. When we follow after the will of God, when we love others, when we help those in need, when we exemplify love and have joy, we will get peace. The peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) will be ours if we seek the Lord first and foremost in our lives.

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known