Be Very Careful

By Pastor Teck Uy

The time we are in is described in Scripture as perilous. We are exposed to all kinds of dangers and temptations – at home, at work, in public places or at church. These make the warning of the apostle Paul so relevant to us even today. He said, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:15-18). He gave this warning because the people would rather live in the dark than in the light. They enjoyed the fruitless deeds of darkness that were shameful to even mention in the light. He preceded his warning with this: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (v. 14). 

This call to wake up is urgent in our days, in that many are fast asleep and are living in a dream world. They lose touch with reality and, like in a dream, would revel in the indulgences of their hearts. The reality is that we are all living in dangerous times; hence we need to be very careful in how we live. The first thing that we need to do is to choose to live as wise and not unwise. The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Indeed, “fear of the Lord” is only the beginning since it drives us close to God and his word. It is when we keep the commands of the Lord that we find wisdom, for we are told in Scriptures to “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (Deut. 4:6).

Our wisdom is manifested in our daily living. It is for this reason that in his epistle, James asked, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13). We are wise when we are able to translate the commands of the Lord into practical actions that bring glory to his name. Wisdom teaches us to seize every opportunity. We cannot afford to be complacent or to put things off for tomorrow. The urgency of the call to act now cannot be overemphasized. The apostle Paul said that “the days are evil.” There might not be another opportunity if we let this one pass without taking action.

Wisdom also moves us to understand what the Lord’s will is for us. While we know that it is the Lord’s will that we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, we need to go beyond these. The Lord Jesus Christ himself revealed God’s will for us when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). It is the will of God that we are healthy and wealthy both physically and spiritually. While this is the ultimate will of God, Jesus nevertheless warned in the first part of the verse saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Unless we are careful in living our lives, the devil will come to rob us of this full and abundant life that Jesus came to give each one of us.

Since we are unable to guard ourselves against all the works of the evil one, we need the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus emphasized the need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit when he said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) We cannot live the good life that God wants us to live unless we are guided and led by the Holy Spirit. In fact, the devil has unleashed a counterfeit spirit to deceive us and this is the spirit of alcohol. The apostle Paul emphasized that drunkenness leads to debauchery – an excessive indulgence in sensual pleasure. Drunkenness detaches people from reality. Therefore, they need to wake up and be filled with the Holy Spirit instead. It is only then that they will come to their true senses and desire to be wise and live good lives.

Therefore, let us seize the opportunity to be saved. The days are indeed evil and unless we receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour now, we might miss the Lord’s offer of salvation. As we decide to walk with the Lord, there should be no turning back. Quoting from the Book of Proverbs, the apostle Peter said, “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud” (2 Peter 2:22). Let us be very careful, then, how we live our lives. Hallelujah!