A Study in Ephesians 5:15-17
Ephesians 5:15-17 – 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.
What is one of your biggest issues?
If you are like most people you might say technology.
Most relationships today are encumbered by our desire to stay connected with everyone at every moment. This leads to people “fasting” from technology. Typically someone will fast from social media or internet or TV for a week or two and then get back into it.
It is understandable why we are addicted to technology. We have such an interdependence on it for our personal lives, our work, and even our entertainment. Many people have their laptops on their laps all day and all evening long.
Like any tool, the internet or cell phone can be misused. When it gets misused, it invades our private moments and it contaminates our relationships.
There is a reason that Paul told the Ephesian church to make “the most of every opportunity.” Paul instructs the church to not be foolish and understand God’s will. You see, the Ephesian church was just like us. They were just as distracted as we are today.
Distraction is a human issue, not a technology issue.
If you read the surrounding verses to 15-17 you realize that there were several things that distracted the church: sexual immorality, covetousness, foolish talk, crude jokes. But look at something else, Paul isn’t just telling them what to stay away from, he is telling them what to focus on in order the keep the bad stuff from taking over.
I like some other translations here as well. For example, the KJV uses the phrase “redeeming the time.” When looking at the original Greek it is literally translated as “buying up for yourselves the opportunity.”
What opportunity is Paul talking about?
The opportunity to find wisdom.
Wisdom is not just learning about the will of God but pursuing it with all you are. A few verses later we are told that this pursuit is done through “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”
Paul understood that life is short and there is a lot of work to do in the gospel. Unfortunately, humans tend to drift toward foolishness and not wisdom. We drift toward distraction.
Paul’s words have significant implications for our relationships. We are told to steward our time wisely and guard our hearts against the distractions.
What will you celebrate 20 years from now? Will you celebrate that you check your email or Facebook or posted that selfie to Instagram? Or will the quality moments spent, in person, with those we love be what we remember the most?
Listen to Paul. Spend your time wisely, not following distractions. Enjoy your bride or husband. Enjoy your children. Enjoy your families and friends.
Do it all without the distraction of the cell phone or social media. Get off the long hours of video games and spend that time with your family. Stop binge watching shows on Netflix and take a walk with your loved ones.
So, what does this look like?
It is important to set clear, immovable boundaries. I will go on record and say that I have not done this yet. I am praying for God to show me the right time to roll this out to the family. Some may sound pretty radical, but to an addict, removing the items of addiction is pretty radical and will never work.
- When on a date with your loved ones, turn off the phone. I understand that parents with kids may need to have a phone in case of emergency, but leave it for emergency only.
- Make dinner a completely unplugged time. Phones stay in the bedrooms, all computers are turned off before dinner, and the TV is off.
- In the morning only grab your phone or computer once everyone has had breakfast and you have had your time in the Word and in prayer. Again, I understand because I use my phone for my Bible. But if you find it too tempting to click into Facebook or emails while reading the Bible on your phone, then it is time to go back to a paper Bible and leave the phone turned off.
This might sound like I am telling us to go backward in time before we had all this. In some way I am, but in reality I want us to understand that the internet, social media, TV, and other technologies are simply tools that we have to master or they can very easily master us.