Here are some statements giving military wisdom: “A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit;” and, “When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.”

Wisdom is a theme in many Old Testament passages, but we also find an emphasis on wisdom in the New Testament. Paul summarizes four emphases on practical wise living in our text.

Wise Living Is Discerning (vv. 5:15-17)
A discerning life requires being careful (v. 15). The opening verb be is a command. Its emphasis is “see to it” or “take heed.” Each believer is to take heed to live carefully. To be careful has the connotation of putting each step of life exactly where it belongs. Living in that manner requires wisdom. Wisdom includes intellectual knowledge and comprehension, using that knowledge in daily living in the fear of the Lord.

A discerning life requires diligence (v. 16). Christians must make the most. This metaphor comes from the ancient experience of going into a marketplace and buying up what is there. Paul uses it to emphasize diligence in taking full advantage of what presents itself. However, make the most of what? Paul is specific as he refers to every opportunity. The word translated opportunity commonly is understood as “time.” As we go through the various times of lives, God gives us opportunities, but an opportunity only exists for a limited time; so, we must take advantage of it while it lasts.

Probably all of us have had the experience of shopping online, perhaps for an airfare. We browse numerous websites and research prices for flights. We find one that looks good, but we think maybe tomorrow it will cost less. So, we wait. However, when we return to the website, we discover the price went up. Indeed, it never appears again at the lower price. The opportunity is gone. So, it is with our service for the Lord.

Third, a discerning life requires knowledge (v. 17). Paul challenges us to avoid being foolish. The foolish person does not practice serving God. Instead, believers are to understand, which leads to proper action. It is “the Lord’s will,” which guides us to godly living, and God reveals His will in His Word.

Wise Living Is Spirit-Filled (v. 18)
A startling contrast is found in this verse. Drinking wine can give a person warm and pleasant feelings. However, too much causes drunkenness. At that point, wine dominates the life, and the person loses control.

In contrast, believers continually must yield to God’s Spirit, be under His control. Those who yield to the Spirit will manifest His fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Wise Living Is Joyful (v. 5:19)
As wise Christians interact with one another, they will share a joyful spirit and attitude. The content of our singing communicates a message. This is the horizontal element of music, as we joyously affect each other. We can sing psalms, music drawn from the Old Testament book. We can sing hymns, those which exalt the character of God. We can sing spiritual songs, those which testify to what God has done in us by His grace.

Doing this in your heart does not mean to sing them silently in our inner thoughts. Rather, it means our songs are to reflect our inner character, and we aim our focus toward the Lord.

Wise Living Is Thankful (v. 20)
Being thankful when good things occur is easy. However, always to be thankful as a characteristic habit of life is sometimes hard. Yet, we are to direct our thanks to God the Father, the ultimate source of all things, for everything. This includes all our many blessings, but it also includes all the problems, testing, difficulties and trials we may face. In them all, we recognize God as sovereign over them all, and we thank Him through Christ.

Yes, wise living should be the normal practice of the Christian life. These verses provide some practical ways to implement such wisdom in our fellowship with our Lord. Now, we must practice wise living.

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