15 THEREFORE BE CAREFUL HOW YOU WALK, NOT AS UNWISE MEN BUT AS WISE, 16 MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME, BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL. 17 SO THEN DO NOT BE FOOLISH, BUT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD IS.
Before these few verses Paul tells us to be imitators of God, and to walk in Love just as Jesus Christ did through His fragrant offering to the Lord upon the Cross. Paul also says to put off the old self, all impurity, immorality, and coarse jesting (joking talk); in fact, these types of things should not even be mentioned among us. Furthermore, Paul says we should expose the evil by shinning the light of Christ.
Then we get to verses 15-17. As a result of what Paul said, you must be careful how you walk. What does it mean to walk as unwise men? Unwise men do not walk in the light, they seek to live in the dark, engaging in various impurities or immoralities. This can be gossip, slander, demeaning attitudes toward another and far worse.
Wise men seek out the light and willfully walk in it so that they can expose the evil deeds of others to the light of Jesus Christ. Wise men do not engage in gossip, slander, coarse joking, immorality, impurity, or complaining. But notice what Paul then says in verse 16-17. We are to make the most of our time because the days are evil, and we are not to be foolish but understand what the will of God is.
How can we make the most of our time, not be foolish and understand the will of God? 1) We have to treat everyday as the only day. We have to seek out ways to share Christ with a lost and dying world. 2) We have understand that scripture says "the fool has said there is no God" and so we need to embrace God in every way possible. We need to pray, we need to study His word because this is the only way we an understand what the will of God is.
Dear Christian seek to walk in the light of Christ, make the most of your time by sharing Jesus everywhere you go, and understand God's will by praying to Him and studying His word.
Showing up (not just physically)
Not only do I show up to work, I show up early. In fact for the first hour or so I am the only person there. Do you know anyone like that? Seize the day, early bird gets the worm etc.. You see men when we show up to work, we don’t just show up and hum through our day. We show up with an intentionality that is innate within us and motivates us to close deals, make new partnerships, drive sales, fix problems and conquer the tasks and challenges we face daily. It is this mindset that comes from the very foundations of who we are. We use our mental fortitude, agility and skills of negotiation to put down any problems that may arise. We expend ourselves mentally and this is good. After all work was part of the original creation prior to the fall and therefore is good.
But what does it look like when you get home to your family? You may say, “I don’t have a family.” Sure that is alright but I still say, what does it look like when you get home? Many times when we come home from work we may assume we should not have to be bothered because we have put in our days duties. We drop the intentionality, mental fortitude, agility and skills of negotiation at the doorstep leaving work. We come home to a family happy to see us. We see a wife struggling to find purpose and encouragement in her daily plight. Children happy to see dad but also struggling with their own version of negotiation skills in various problems they face as siblings. What do we do? Many times we hit the couch or the La-Z-Boy and burn out in front of the T.V. to the destruction of our families.
The point is simply this, is your intentionality rooted in your faith in Christ or your job? If it is rooted in your job, you will never come home with the intentionality that you take to work. Because it is not rooted in Jesus Christ, your family will continue to coast through life with no real leadership and direction. Playing with your kids and telling your wife how much you love her and them is merely surface level. Jesus is the head of the man and the man the head of the family.
If you are not aligned under Christ you may have success in your job but it will be to the forfeiture of your family. You say, “well I maintain order in my home and lead.” A family does not thrive under the rule of a dictator barking orders as his foot crosses the threshold of the door. Therefore, ask yourself, does your family rejoice when they hear your car pull up or do they cringe?
What does this look like you may ask? First and foremost, you cannot just show up physically and pat yourself on the back. Your family needs to know that you are there physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They need to see your intentionality and desire to serve them. This needs to be rooted in Christ through faith or will quickly turn into an idol where you get the glory and when things go wrong, they get the resentment.
Doing your best / Giving your best
There was an incident in Genesis 4 between Cain, Abel and God.
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Upon immediate reading of the text it appears that Abel is favored but Cain is overlooked. But if we carefully take into account what the text says about the offerings both men brought we can see where the difference is and which one truly understood his place before God. Look again, “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.”
Here you see that Abel brought the firstlings, or to put it in a way we can all understand, he brought his very best. He surveyed his flock and took notice, then chose to take the best and bring it to God. To many times we as men bring our best to work, but leave the left overs for our families. As if that was not bad enough, when we are fully spent we give God whatever crummy left overs we can muster. This, my friend is wrong. Why do we expend ourselves at work but excuse ourselves at home? Why do we work hard at our job but but forfeit our time with God?
The answer is simple, our alignment is incorrect and our priorities are wrong. God deserves our very best every day, and it should be the first thing we do. I know we have to keep a job and need to support our families but that does not mean we have to expend ourselves to the point where our families become a burden in our selfishness. We should stay faithful to the Lord at work, do our best, and pray for strength and help on our way home. God is faithful and He will help us.
Trying to impress the boss
The next thing we do at work but not at home is trying to impress the boss. There is nothing wrong with doing good honest work and trying to impress the boss. After all work is good and we should do what we can to set ourselves apart from the rest in a way that is aligned under a mighty and good God.
But I fear that the only boss we are trying to impress is one that bears no weight on eternity. When we get home from work, our abilities don’t disappear, we turn them off. My brothers that ought not to be so. God is the ultimate boss; as creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them, He is the one who has authority over all. There is nothing we can do to impress God.
But we should be aligning ourselves under His authority and working diligently to further His kingdom in our home. This looks like a man that comes home from work and seeks to serve the King. A man that loves his wife, engages his children for the Kingdom and spiritually leads by example. It is not, coming home turning the game on and telling the kids not to bother you while exhorting your wife to serve you. This is the opposite of what it means to serve the boss.
Encouraging your team members
How many times at work do we work on team projects, collaborative meetings and share encouragement? I fear more often than we do at home. Let’s evaluate the definition of encouragement.
the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
Encouragement is a verb, it is an action which means it requires movement on our part as husbands and fathers. Do we give support, confidence and hope to our wife and children or are we merely assuring them of our circumstantial love once we have served ourselves? Giving support means helping someone with something. Giving confidence means building up another by speaking truth and life into their ear. Giving hope means sharing with them the truth of scripture. God created a perfect and right world, mankind disobeyed God willfully and as a result the world and its inhabitants were plunged into a perpetual state of sin and decay. The Bible says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
that is short of perfect holiness. And for those sins, the Bible says
for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see this is the ultimate hope, the hope that carries us through the pain and toil, the groaning and grunting of this sin cursed world and into eternity with our Creator. But one can only receive this hope by repenting (turning away from their sins) and putting their faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone. There is no other. Is this the type of encouragement your family receives from you? Do you come home and intentionally build them up for the kingdom of God and His glory, or do you tear down, and belittle?
Sacrificing for the advancement of the company
How many late nights have you spent working on that proposal? How many long hours have been put in to meet a deadline? Perhaps a better question to ask is, how many times have you skipped a family affair for the advancement of your employer? My brother if the answers that complete these questions result in “more than I should have;” we must reevaluate our priorities. Jesus said,
What shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul, or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
The question is this, why would you sacrifice your eternity for temporary advancement in the here and now? What would you exchange for your soul? If we are making sacrifices to the advancement our employers agenda at the detriment to our families we are doing it wrong. Sacrificing for the greater good is giving up what we want or desire and serving another. This does not mean losing your job or quitting; it simply means spending less extra time at work and instead, investing into your family sacrificially.
This might look like turning down a big project you know will tear into your time with your family. It may look like turning down a promotion if it requires you to be at work more often and at home less. I know this sounds crazy in our modern society but is it really? If a man’s job is to love, lead and sacrifice for his family to impact eternity, what good can he do from his office desk? Do not gain the world only to let your family fall. I assure you that big money and big stuff is only stuff. You will never see a moving truck behind a hearse. Jesus finished his teaching by saying this
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels!
I wonder, are we teaching our families to be ashamed of Christ in a futile attempt at gaining the world? My brothers these things ought not to be so.
the faith of Rahab
If you have read the book of Joshua, you have most likely read about Rahab the prostitute. In Joshua chapter 2 we read that Joshua sent two spies to spy out the land in Jericho. They come into the home of Rahab. Scholars believe that Rahab was the proprietor of an Inn or probably a brothel (could have been one in the same). We read that when the king’s men came to Rahab seeking the spies, she lied to them and sent them out of the city to pursue them. There are 3 things we should take notice of here in this passage as it relates to faith.
Regarding the spies we read that “before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof.” Take note of what Rahab says, “I know that the Lord has given you the land.” This is interesting because the people of Jericho were pagans and did not believe in the God of the Hebrews. Pagans believed in many gods, but not the one true God. Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Paul tells us that hearing the word of God produces faith as the Holy spirit works supernaturally within us.
Look again at Rahab’s response beginning in verse 9. She begins by saying, “I know.” What does she know and how does she know it? She says that she knows the Lord has given the Israelites the land. She tells us how she knows in verse 10. The entire land has heard what the Lord God did for the Israelites when He delivered them out of bondage from Egypt (paraphrased). She mentions the Lord drying up the Red Sea as the Israelites were vacating Egypt. She mentions two kings Israel devoted to destruction, Sihon & Og. This is fascinating to hear her speak of these incredible acts of God.
It is worth nothing that the Israelites were in Egypt 400+ years and then wandered the wilderness for another 40+ years due to their lack of faith. Here you have a pagan prostitute telling Israel that the whole land has heard about these great acts of God that have occurred over four decades ago.
Hebrews 3:8-9 says 8 “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years,” God says, if you hear Him do not harden your heart as did the nation of Israel and as a result wandered the wilderness 40 years. Rahab heard what the Lord had done, and her heart was softened.
She not only heard what the Lord had done but she believed it. “I know” said Rahab in verse 9, and verse 11 “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” Rahab heard it, believed it, and repented of her ways. She was saved by grace through faith and not of her works but her faith was indeed justified by her works.
Rahab had faith that the Lord, the God of the Hebrews would deal faithfully with her if she surrendered to Him in faith. This is exactly what she did and what we all should do. Do you hear the Lord speaking to you through His word the Bible? Do you read His Holy scriptures with anticipation looking at all He has done, is doing and promises to do? Do you believe it? If you believe it, do you repent of your ways and put your faith wholly in Jesus? We hope so. Below you will find the start of a prayer, finish it as He leads you.
God, you are God of Heaven and of Earth, I have heard of your mighty works…