Ephesians 5

Scripture 

Ephesians 5:15-16 

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus (in modern day Turkey).  He was most likely under house arrest in Rome while writing this letter.  It is similar in style and content to Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae.  However, it’s possible this letter wasn’t intended specifically for Ephesus, but as a circular letter, or meant for a group of churches in the region.  Throughout the letter, he emphasizes God’s “great mystery,” which is the inclusion of gentiles as heirs of Christ.  God reconciled all of humanity to Himself through the act of grace, bringing those “who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Starting in chapter 4:17, Paul transitions from discussing how we are all brought to salvation, to discussing our response to this salvation.  After salvation, we intentionally move away from our former way of life, which was full of evil actions, and move towards God’s plan for us, which is full of wisdom and righteousness.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Sometime near 2012, the term YOLO, acronym for “you only live once”, took pop-culture by storm.  It was used by reality TV stars, Twitter stars, and laymen alike.  During that time, the phrase became a call to arms for the young and carefree and was often an excuse to act in ways that would normally be considered inappropriate and unbecoming.  There was a similar phrase that emerged in the 16th century, “memento mori,” Latin for “remember you will die.”  During that time, the phrase carried a meaning more closely associated with the weight of responsibility for one’s actions.  Whether you say “you only live once,” or “remember you will die,” they both remind us of our mortality. 

 

Several times throughout his letters, Paul writes to remind us that we only live once in this world, therefore, we need to live in such a way that we are moving closer to the will of God and further away from the ways of this world.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;  but I [l]discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).  This response is not simply an obligation, but a response of gratitude for the great love that Christ poured on us.  

 

Life Application 

Jesus, help me to move closer to you every day.  As I move closer to you, help change my heart to desire less of this world and its lusts and more of your righteousness.  Help me to seek your discipline and wisdom, knowing that your love is greater than anything here on earth.  

 
-Tyler Galloway