"Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is."
Wisdom is something I pray for continually. I count on James 1:5 which states if any lack wisdom ask for it, because God gives it liberally. I've read Proverbs completely though and regularly draw from it. To be honest, I need to read it again and again because there are so many timeless truths in that book that are still daily applicable. Things that I have often wished I had thought of in the moment of decision making or at the time I was doing something that I later regretted. I know wisdom starts with the fear (reverence, respect, and awe) of the Lord as proclaimed in Proverbs 9:10. I know it is a treasure and a companion to be sought.
I know God was absolutely pleased when Solomon asked for it above everything else on the earth. Think of it...this man was given cart blanche an invitation to anything he wanted in the earth - something that hadn't happened since Adam. What does he ask for? A character quality. An intangible. An elusive. God was so thrilled and not only gave this to him but poured out so much wealth on the man he was the talk of nations.
In reading through the verses of Ephesians today one translation starts verse 15 with the phrase "walk circumspectly". This word is uncommon to me so I had to look it up. The greek here is the word "akribos" and it means to "exactly, accurately, dilligently". To "grace-minded" believers such as myself, these words are enemies. I'm supposed to have a little wiggle room for failures and grace to forgive these, right? I get nervous when confronting accuracy and precision, perfection and exact requirement. What I find interesting is how our failure to walk in this manner is linked to a lack of wisdom. So how do I avoid this pitfall? How do I walk wisely, excactly, with precision. The answers are in following verses.
Verse 16 shows us to make the most of the time, to buy up every opportunity. Verse 16 in the King James translation reads "Redeeming the time because the days are evil". The greek word for redeem is "exagorazo" and one of it's meanings is "to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own". Wow! Purchasing time with zeal and well doing. I've never thought about being able to purchase time. I spend it, waste it, if I'm wise invest it. But here I am to purchase it. This is directly tied to being wise and walking "circumspectly"
Again in verse 17 we are admonished to not be unwise - but to understand what the will of the Lord is. This has always seemed like one of those elusive truths to me. To "understand the will of the Lord". This is the mountaintop of faith to climb - the test of your walk to gauge yourself against. Are you where you should be in your relationship with Him? Do you understand his will for you? It's always been something to be grasped, something to be reaching for, striving for, but very often something just out of reach. This is because I have been looking outward instead of inward. I have been looking for the booming voice in the clouds, the pillar of fire by night, the confirmng word from a church sermon instead of listening for the small quiet voice confirmed by His Word. The greek word for understand is "syniemi" and it means to "to join together, to put the perception with the thing percieved". Its root word is the word "syn" which simply means "with, beside, accompany"
Understanding the will of the Lord is my bringing my perceptions and thoughts in line with his. Where are his perceptions and thoughts? Never more evident than in His Word for sure, but also in our hearts as we meditate on Him and regularly and daily communicate with him. This is where our once a day prayers in the morning or at night don't cut it. We HAVE to live moment by moment in His grace and in His presence. Why? "Because the days are evil". What is so amazingly awesome is that He desires to live every second of every day in this communion with us!
These three simple verses contain within them a series of inter-related truths that are powerful and essential to the Christian walk. We are to walk out our lives and strive for accuracy and exactness, with purpose which we do by seizing every opportunity to do good with zeal - this is wisdom. This is the same wisdom that brings us into and through which we will discover the will, direction and path of our lives as God has designed them from the start - understanding his will. These are the good works he has prepared for us from the beginning as proclaimed in Ephesians 2:10.
Wisdom is not a cerebral infusion, but an expression of the heart. When we understand this, though we won't even notice it, others will find us wise. And God will begin to pour out on you with a smile.