MAKE USE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Someone who missed a flight, because he was a few minutes late, will tell you the importance of the few minutes. You ask the student who couldn’t answer some question due to lack of time, and he will tell you the importance of that time. Ask someone who missed an interview, and he will tell you the importance of that time. Opportunity is like a stream of water; once it goes, it never returns. Paul knew very well the importance of time and its right use. He appealed to the Ephesian believers to make use of every opportunity for the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16). I would like to explain what Paul meant by ‘making use of time.’ What should Christians do? The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while he was kept under guard in rented quarters in Rome in AD 60 (Acts 28:30). His writings were intended a) to teach what God had done for us through our Lord Jesus Christ and b) what we should be doing in return. The whole epistle underscores a threefold outline, the believer’s calling, conduct, and conflict, the believer’s position, practice, and power, and his doctrine, duty, and defence.
The first three chapters are doctrinal in nature and the last three chapters are practical. Under the doctrinal section, Paul teaches what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ: He had redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ (1:7); He has made known to us the mystery of His will (1:9); He has given us the inheritance through Lord Jesus Christ (1:11).
Having explained what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, Paul commands us to walk worthy of our calling. He asks us to put way the falsehood and to speak the truth to everyone all the time (4:25), not to get angry (4:26), and not to steal, but to work honestly (4:27). Then he commands us to consider how we walk (v.15), “Be careful how you walk: wisely or foolishly.” Verse 15 begins with imperative and verse 16 is an infinitive. Why I say so is in verse 15. Paul writes, “Do not be unwise, but be wise.” But the question here is, why? The answer is “to make use of every opportunity.”
Be Careful How You Live
When we read Eph.4:25 on, we understand that the believers in Ephesus were (a) living like unbelievers by telling lies, stealing, wrangling, etc. (b) They were not making use of God-given opportunity to express God’s beautiful doings. The opportunity was given to live as the children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true (Eph.5:8-9). (c) They were living unwisely. The works of unwise are false, boastful, idolatry, greedy, bitterness, malice and so on (Eph. 4: 25-32; Jas. 3:14-15). Unwise person does not understand the importance of year, month, an hour or a minute. He sleeps; if not, he kills time by involving in all meaningless things. Anyone who does not know how to use his time, can be considered as unwise. The believers in Ephesus were not ignorant of time or opportunity; but, they did not use their time wisely. This further helps to conclude that the believers were not using their opportunity wisely. Maybe, instead of walking in light, they were walking in darkness. Instead of walking as wise, they were walking as unwise. Paul therefore asked them to carefully consider their way of life.
Make Use Of Every Opportunity
Opportunity comes only once, and the days are evil. Those were the days when there was constant spiritual warfare (Eph.6:10). Those were the days there was an influence of pagan way of life. For such a time as this, believers must make use of opportunity to prove that:
- They are the children of light (v.8)
- They understand what the will of the Lord is (v.17)
- They are filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18)
- They work for the good of all (Gal.6:10).
“Make use of every opportunity for the days are evil” (v.16). So what you and I should do?
(1) We shouldn’t take part in the unfruitful work of darkness (v. 11)
Some of the works of darkness are: Gossip, vulgar talk, backbiting, idolatry, and coaxing, telling lies, stealing and wrangling. Paul commanded the believers not to be part of those kinds of things. For those kinds of things do not qualify us to have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:5). Moreover, these things deprive the goodness of God from our lives. It ultimately leads us into anxiety and creates havoc in our relationship with God and with others.
(2) We must understand what is the Lord’s will (v.17)
One of the best ways to keep ourselves away from the unfruitful work of darkness is to know what the Lord’s will is. The Lord’s will is always holy and pure. Anyone who goes according to the Lord’s will, will always cultivate peace and prosperity. But the question is, how can we understand Lord’s will? Paul writes, by renewing of our mind (Rom.12:2). Thus the requirement is change of our minds. We must change our minds from doing bad things to good things.
(3) We must be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18)
Paul wrote this letter to the believers. Paul says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” All that he is saying here is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit just as when a person gets drunk, he is controlled by wine. So also, all the Christians must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. This means, walking according to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Paul himself was moving according the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Dear friends, let us make use of every opportunity to prove that we are the children of light. Let us understand what is the Lord’s will. Let us be controlled by the Holy Spirit and never hesitate to do good as long as we live.