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- Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV
How should a Christian live?
It’s a critical question serious Christians have been asking themselves and each other since the dawn of the Christian age. It’s also a question I have found myself pondering more frequently and with a greater sense of urgency. Anytime I pray about the times we live in and where we are headed two words come immediately to mind. Every. Single. Time.
Short and evil.
My gut and all indications point to the reality that the time left maybe short and the days we live in are becoming progressively more evil. I don’t know if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, two decades from now or in a century. I do know we are closer now to Jesus’ return than we have ever been (2nd Timothy 3:1-5, 2nd Peter 3:2-3, Matthew 24). It’s simply a fact that the times we live in are more evil and much stranger than they have been since Jesus left the earth (Acts 1:3-9).
War in the Middle East, economic turmoil, increased barbarity, sexual chaos, gender lunacy, ceaseless social skirmishes and political machinations all point to a world in rapid and possibly irretrievable decline. Every square inch of our planet is crying out for the redemption Jesus will bring when He returns and restores all things to their pre-fall condition (Romans 8:18-25).
Until then we are in a war for the hearts, minds and souls of people (Ephesians 6:12-13). I am convinced in the coming days the church will see a great harvest of souls in the midst of growing evil and increasing social chaos. People will come to know Jesus, lives will be changed and destinies will be rewritten. How we choose to conduct ourselves now and in the coming years will greatly impact our level of usefulness to the Lord (Acts 2:16-18). Because we live in such critical times we have a real opportunity to make our lives matter in a significant way for eternity. But, in order to do that we must wake up every day and choose to:
Live as called people-
The Greek word for church is ekklesia. Ekklesia is a compound word with a prefix and a root. The prefix is ek, meaning “out of”. The root is a form of the word kaleo meaning “to call”. The word church literally means “called out ones”. Christians are called people. We are called by Jesus out of our old way of life into a new life in Christ where our primary function is to tell the world about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (1st Corinthians 5:17, Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1, 2nd Thessalonians 1:10-12). The exact particulars of how we fulfill our calling depends on our giftings and the opportunities God gives us (Romans 12:3-8) Our success or failure in the area of calling depends primarily on how we see ourselves and the purpose of our lives. Are we here to gratify our own desires and to live for our own glory? Or are we called out for the purpose of glorifying God and proclaiming His truth?
Be ready to give an answer-
The world is growing darker and scarier all the time. Individuals who have never thought much about God find themselves experiencing anxiety over world events and never-ending social upheaval. Many of these individuals are seeking answers from people they never have before. Christians should be ready to use discussions about current events as a jumping off place to talk about Jesus, where all this is headed, faith in Jesus and what will happen to those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus (1st Peter 4:5, 1st Peter 3:15). God is opening doors for spiritual conversation. It is up to us to make the most of these opportunities (Colossians 4:5-7)
Leave behind pride and selfishness-
Over the course of the last few years a spirit of competitiveness and kingdom building has taken root in the hearts of Christians and Christian leaders. A spirit of unity is missing in churches. This is simply unacceptable (Ephesians 4:1-3, Colossians 3:13-14). There is simply no place for pride, jealously or selfishness in these times (Galatians 5:13-26). There is too much at stake to waste time on such short-term thinking.
Live filled with the Holy Spirit-
The Greek word Jesus used for the Holy Spirit in the book of John is parakletos. It means “advocate”, “helper”, “intercessor”, “counselor” and “comforter”. The Holy Spirit is a gift given at salvation. Its purpose is to teach, help, comfort and guide God’s people as they do His will in this world (John 14:26, 1st Peter 1:12, 1st Thessalonians 1:5). Sadly, many Christians ignore or minimize the importance of the Holy Spirit out of fear of “being weird”. Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t weird, it’s biblical (Ephesians 5:8-20). All we have to do is ask and God will give us fresh inpouring of the Spirit (Acts 4:23-31, Acts 13:8-10, Ephesians 3:14-19). Being filled with the Spirit daily gives us invaluable access to God’s wisdom, power, knowledge and insight. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live holy lives and do God’s will in our sphere of influence.
Be available. Our availability is what God wants most from His people right now. Be ready and willing to pray for a friend, hold a hand, answer a spiritual question, fill a need and God will use you for His glory.