The Apostle Paul gave instructions to the church on what their faith in Christ should and should not look like. He told them that they must no longer live like the ungodly who, with their hardened hearts, have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity, for that is not the way they should have learned Christ. They should have been taught to put off their old lives of living in sin and for self, to be renewed in their minds of the Spirit, and to put on their new lives in Christ, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (See Ephesians 4:17-24).
Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness should have no part in their lives. For they could 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. So they were to let no one deceive them with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. And those sons of disobedience can be some (or many) of those professing faith in Jesus Christ. So we are not to be partners with them (See Ephesians 5:1-14).
Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 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, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Look Carefully How You Walk
Therefore, our lives are to stand out as different. We are called to be holy, which means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of the character of Jesus Christ. Our heart’s desire should be to stay within our Lord’s righteous boundaries and within his righteous (godly, holy) instructions (training, disciplines) for our lives. We should not want to wander from his ways to follow after the ways of the sinful flesh, but we should want to live in purity of devotion to him.
There are all kinds of evils and distractions and temptations out there in the world that we must guard our hearts and minds against. Especially if we are on the internet, we have so many things being thrown at us daily to try to tempt us to stray from the Lord and to return to our lives of sin and of living to please our flesh and not God. So we have to be aware of what those areas are so that we can put up guards against them and have a plan for how we are going to stop all evil from even tempting us to do wrong.
We can’t go throughout our days when we are not engaged in working a job, or fulfilling a ministry, or caring for a family, just being casual and unprepared for possible attacks against us, either in the way of potential temptations to sin or in the way of trying to discourage us from living fully for the Lord and/or from teaching the truth of the gospel. If we are not fully armored up with the armor of God we open that door for the enemy of our souls to attack us either to instill fear or to tempt us to immorality.
So, this is why the caution here to look carefully how we walk. And this includes a self-examination of how we are spending our time when nothing else is required of us. For those of us of retiral age this is especially important that we look carefully at how we walk, for it might be easy for some people to fall into a stage of complacency and laziness and just doing what they want to do without thought for what God wants of them in their retiral years. For if Jesus is Lord (Master) we need to let him be Lord.
When God created each one of us, he created us for a purpose. If we have been called of God to believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, then the Lord has an assignment for each one of us to do, a specific calling that he has for each of our lives. And he has gifted us individually, too, with the gifts necessary to fulfill the assignments he has for us. So inquire of the Lord as to how he wants you to be spending your days, and then follow him in obedience in doing his will for the glory of God.
[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]
Not Drunk, Filled with the Spirit
And when this says here that we must not get drunk with wine but that we are to be filled with the Spirit, please know that people can get drunk on (be intoxicated to) many things, not just alcoholic beverages. We are not to allow ourselves to be out-of-control, in other words, to where something else takes control over our lives and we lose self-control. Even passion and desire can intoxicate people to the point to where they are not exercising wisdom and discernment and to where they might even do the unthinkable.
And being filled with the Spirit is not some one-time thing that happens to us post salvation. For if we are genuinely saved, we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, empowering us to live holy lives, teaching, exhorting, counseling, and urging us to live for the Lord and no longer for ourselves. And being filled with the Spirit is not some emotional experience where we act in ways that are out-of-control, for the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. So, we are being filled with the Spirit when we choose to forsake our sins and to follow the Lord in obedience and yield to the Spirit’s control in our lives (Read Ephesians 4 and 5).
Singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
In Colossians 3:16 we read: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
And then here in Ephesians 5 we read that we are to address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. So, this is not about us sitting in a song service in a church gathering singing songs of worship to God only, but this is about us teaching, admonishing, exhorting, and encouraging one another in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ to live holy and godly lives in obedience to our Lord and in the forsaking of our sins.
And if you grew up singing the hymns, as I did, you will find that many of them are teaching the Scriptures, and they are intended for the spiritual maturity of the body of Christ and for their spiritual encouragement in their walks of faith and obedience to the Lord. So, if the Lord gives us songs for the encouragement of other believers in Jesus these songs should include Scriptural teachings that are to help us to grow and to mature in our walks of faith in the Lord Jesus.
But this isn’t just about singing songs. Again this is about us urging and exhorting and encouraging one another in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord so that we grow to maturity in Christ, and so that we are not led astray by sin’s deceitfulness. So not only should we look carefully how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, but we are to be looking out for one another, too, and how each of us is walking, and we should be helping one another to walk in holiness and righteousness and no longer in sin.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]
My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a steppingstone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.
The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for a while;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile.
This weary world with all its toil and struggle
May take its toll of misery and strife;
The soul of man is like a waiting falcon;
When it’s released, it’s destined for the skies.
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.
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