We now have choices. Before we could do nothing else but live essentially foolish lives, without meaning and without ultimate hope. The fear of God (that is, respectful awe) is the beginning of wisdom, the writer of the Proverbs tells us. Now, through Christ and the revelation of Him in our hearts, we can choose to live wisely. More fool us if we continue to choose to live foolishly! I love Paul's letters, because though they contain profound theology which I often struggle to understand, they are also full of practical advice. In effect, Paul states that if God is like this, then how are we to live? Here are the exhortations Paul writes here: 1. Be careful! 2. Make the most of every opportunity 3. Be thoughtful, consider, weigh up, get preparation in for each day. 4. Understand (or at least try with all your might!) what the Lord wants you to do. 5. Stay sober. 6. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Greek word here for 'be filled' means to keep going on being filled. How do we do this when the Holy Spirit is God and does what He pleases? Well, we can read in Scripture that God wants to bless us, so the desire of the Holy Spirit is to fill every part of our being. It reminds me of Elijah's stand off with the prophets of Baal recorded in 1 Kings 18 v 20-39 . They try every way to get their god to do what they want, cutting themselves, dancing, shouting. Elijah prays simply to the LORD-note the personal relationship-and God brings victory. It is not that we have to persuade God, bribe God, to do what He chooses to do anyway, just live lives of obedience and love. 7. SING! One of the great frustrations of these days is the prohibition on singing together. What it is to praise God as one people! 8. Give thanks for EVERYTHING. Because in Christ everything has meaning and there is hope, whatever comes our way!
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