The Guidance of the Spirit

Live Wisely

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is … be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:17–18)

“Be very careful, then, how you live … the days are evil.” Sound like something a concerned parent would say to a teenage son or daughter? Or maybe a pastor’s counsel regarding the culture in which we live?

Paul’s caution to the Ephesians is as relevant today as it was in the first century. The days are evil. The line between right and wrong, wise and foolish, seems to change every day. Living wisely has never been more vital or more difficult. So how can we avoid foolishness and “understand what the Lord’s will is” (5:17)?

Thankfully, God figured it all out long ago. First, he sent Jesus to deliver us from the power of evil (Galatians 1:4). Then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). As we study God’s Word, the Spirit reminds us of how Jesus lived in an evil world and then shows us how to follow his example. That’s why Paul tells the Ephesians the only way to live wisely—to make “the most of every opportunity” God gives us to glorify him and edify others—is “to be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:16, 18).

What’s the evidence of being filled with the Spirit? Our mouths speak Spirit words—“psalms, hymns, and songs” (v. 19). Our hearts praise God, our Father, and Jesus, our Savior, for all the ways they bless us (v. 20). We fill our minds with what is true, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). At home, at work, and in the community, we act in ways that point people to God’s goodness, sovereignty, and grace.

The days have been evil ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:14–19). Evil will continue to wreak havoc until Jesus returns. However, the Holy Spirit who lives inside us not only can guide us through evil days but also enable us to shine the light of God’s truth every step of the way.

Is the evil in this world weakening your confidence in God? Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to discern God’s path and plan. Then move forward in faith. The Spirit walks alongside you.

DIG DEEPER:

Read John 16:7–15. According to this passage, what is the Holy Spirit’s role in the world and what is his ministry to us?

Read Genesis 6:5–7 and 2 Timothy 3:1–5. How do these passages illustrate that our culture is no more evil than these cultures? What is the remedy? Consider Genesis 6:8–22 and 2 Timothy 3:14–17.

What counsel about living wisely in an evil world is given in 1 Peter 2:11–20? How can you implement this advice in your daily life?

Denise K. Loock

This devotion is part of a series on The Holy Spirit.

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