THE BELIEVER IS TO WALK CAREFULLY AND OBEDIENTLY
Today our lesson is aimed at encouraging us as believer's to set a dynamic example in the way we walk. The Christian believer's life is a visual sermon, whether he wants it to be or not! Whether you are walking sharply in the Spirit or failing in the flesh, you are providing an example which will be copied. Far too many believers look and act like the world and as a result have lost their influence upon a world that desperately needs Jesus. Are you a dynamic example in your walk or are you marginal? Some may even have a very negative influence upon Christianity and society. What does your life look like? How you walk day by day throughout life is crucial to the cause of Christ and to the welfare of society. You either contribute to the building up of society or to the tearing down of society. You either carry the message of life to the world, or you carry the message of silence and death. For this reason, it is important that the believer walk carefully and obediently throughout life.
1. You must walk carefully and obediently by looking around and watching every step (v.15).
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." This fifth ‘walk’ is of interest. The word translated "circumspectly" has the sense of ‘carefully,’ ‘diligently,’ or ‘accurately.’ We thus are enjoined to be ever so careful in our Christian walk. He adds further insight with the comment, “not as fools, but as wise.” ’ The greater thought therefore is how we are to walk wisely and carefully in our Christian life.
2. You must walk carefully and obediently by redeeming the time (v. 16).
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The word translated as "redeeming" has the additional sense of ‘buying’ in this case, time. The greater thought is of not wasting the time God has given us. Its efficient use is circumspect. It is a function of walking wisely. Moreover, we are reminded of the urgency thereof, because the days are evil. Paul, even as we, lived in evil times. Thus, there is urgency in wisely using the time God has given us while we have time. “Only one life ‘twill be soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
3. You must walk carefully and obediently by understanding the Lord's will (vs. 17).
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." There is great wisdom in so ordering our lives by (1) knowing the will of God, (2) understanding it, and (3) doing it.
4. You must walk carefully and obediently rejecting drunkenness (vs. 18).
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess..." Part of such careful living is being “not drunk with wine wherein is excess.” A careful point of distinction is at hand. The Apostle was not saying, ‘don’t drink to excess so that you get drunk.’ Many a compromising Christian has so interpreted this to justify social drinking. Rather the thought is don’t be intoxicated at all which leads to all sorts of excess (i.e., unseemliness).
5. You must walk carefully and obediently by being filled with the Holy Spirit (vs. 18-21).
"...but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
vs. 18 (b) - The greater and contrasting truth is that we are to “be filled with the Spirit.” The juxtaposition is not coincidental. Rather than being filled with intoxicating spirits, we rather are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. That high spiritual level comes only as we are surrendered to the Spirit of God, have purged sin from our lives, and have had the prayer preparation necessary thereto. God’s will for us is therefore referred to in the preceding verse.
vs. 19 - Paul proceeds to mention spiritual aspects which are related to being filled by the Spirit of God. These involve “speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” He thus touches upon the greater spectrum of Christian music. The word translated as "psalms" literally refers to the playing of a stringed instrument and thus presumes instrumental accompaniment. But here the thought is of speaking such which may imply the quoting of the Psalms.
The word translated as "hymns" literally means ‘a song of praise to God.’ What clearly is implied is that the focal point of Christian music is praise to God. It is He to whom the music is directed and not human ears.
Then, he also mentions spiritual songs. Implied is a spiritual character to Christian music in distinction to a carnal or worldly style. The Apostle then adds, “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The phrase “making melody” has the sense again of making praise to God. Hence, Christian music should be primarily addressed to God for His praise and not our religious entertainment. It is directly related to being filled with the Spirit. Moreover, it ought to emanate from our heart which the Spirit of God fills.
vs. 20 - A further matter related to being filled with the Spirit is of giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The overwhelming object of thanks in the Bible is to God. Moreover, we are enjoined to so thank Him for “all things” and it is to be in the name of Christ. If there is a besetting sin among Christian people, it is the lack of thanks to God for His manifold blessings.
vs. 21 - Finally, in the context of being filled with the Spirit, Paul notes another thought and that is how we ought to be submitting ourselves one to another in the fear of God. To submit to another is evidence of spiritual maturity. Pride, which is the essence of carnality, resists such yielding. To have a submissive spirit is an attitude related to being filled with the Spirit of God. Moreover, a submissive yielding spirit is related to the fear of God. As we realize His awesome holiness and potential judgment, it ought to so motivate us to yield to one another.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What positive words and acts do you pass on which are imitated by someone else? What negative words and acts?
2. Which person do you identify with the most—the unwise or wise? Why?
3. Why is it important to redeem the time? What kind of things can you do in order to be a better steward of your time? Do you view yourself as one who wastes time?
4. How much of your life is planned without considering God's will? Are there any areas of your life that are not in God's perfect will? What must you do to have those areas subjected to God's will?
5. Why do some people tend to think that drunkenness is a disease? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
6. Give an example of how drunkenness leads to other sins.
7. Are you experiencing the Spirit-filled life today? In what ways can this life be best cultivated in you?
8. What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the words "filled with the Spirit?"
9. How do you know when you are filled with the Spirit?
May we all walk carefully and obediently in our lives. We do influence others one way or another.
Your Friend and HIS,