One puzzling aspect of the Christian life is knowing God’s will. ‘What do I do, Lord’? Have you struggled with this? I have. Over the years, I’ve learned not to worry about little things like what color socks to wear today or what to have for dinner. Those decisions could drive you ‘plum crazy’! It’s the bigger issues that I have in mind.
Here the Apostle Paul helps. Read Ephesian 5:15-21. Verse 16 talks about ‘making the best use of our time because the days are evil’. How true! The older I get, the more I realize that time is slipping by, and that this old world is never going to get better on its own. Worse more like it, and I don’t like it one bit!
Verse 17 urges us to ‘…understand what the will of the Lord is’. Yes! God’s will. The next verse tells us not to get intoxicated with wine, causing us to lose control… of godly living. Liquor, money-grubbing, pornography, gossip or selfishness– whatever fleshly sin which intoxicates us.
Instead, ‘be filled with the Spirit…’ –followed by a list of what that looks like in our lives. Here’s where it’s helpful to dig a little deeper into the biblical Greek. When I said that the Apostle Paul ‘urges’ us…that’s not totally accurate. Both the verbs ‘do not get (drunk)’ and ‘be filled (with the Spirit)’ are not suggestions at all. They’re commands!
Verses 19 through 21 contain four participles. The type used is the ‘adverbial participle’. These modify verbs. Here the verb is ‘to fill’, as with the Holy Spirit. This is God’s will for us. My ears perk up!
First adverbial participle– speaking with each other in a biblical way. How? Not glibly quoting Bible verses at each other, but letting His thoughts flow naturally through us. Guarding our tongues. Having compassion. Encouraging someone in need.
Second participle is about songs and melodies, singing within our hearts. I love to sing. Some don’t or can’t. We always can… within our hearts. God’s will for us is being filled with the Spirit, producing overtones of inner joy and gladness.
Third. Giving thanks. Certainly God’s will for us. Thanksgiving… all year long! As in right now!
Fourth participle. Submitting to each other. Showing more concern for others than we normally would. Taking a ‘back seat’ once in a while. For someone else’s sake. For Him.
God’s will? Not so puzzling. Not so much Greek to us. Really rather simple. Check out those four participles once again. They’re His will for your life…and mine!
Prayer: Lord, we want to faithfully follow you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.