Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15–16
I don’t remember many specifics about my driver’s education class. But for some reason, an acronym we learned, S-I-P-D-E, remains firmly lodged in my memory.
The letters stood for Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute, a process we were taught to practice continually. We were to scan the road, identify hazards, predict what the hazards might do, decide how we’d respond, and then, if necessary, execute that plan. It was a strategy for being intentional to avoid accidents.
I wonder how that idea might translate to our spiritual lives. In Ephesians 5, Paul told Ephesian believers, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise” (v. 15). Paul knew certain hazards could derail the Ephesians—old ways of living at odds with their new life in Jesus (vv. 8, 10–11). So he instructed the growing church to pay attention.
The words translated “be very careful, then, how you live” literally mean “see how you walk.” In other words, look around. Notice hazards, and avoid personal pitfalls like drunkenness and wild living (v. 18). Instead, the apostle said, we can seek to learn God’s will for our lives (v. 17), while, with fellow believers, we sing to and give Him thanks (vv. 19–20).
No matter what hazards we face—and even when we stumble—we can experience our new life in Christ as we grow in dependence on His boundless power and grace.
What strategy do you use to recognize what might trip you up spiritually? What role do you think other believers play in identifying and resisting spiritual hazards? How might thanksgiving be an important part of avoiding spiritual pitfalls?
Heavenly Father, as I navigate the spiritual potholes on life’s road, thank You for reminding me to look up to You for help.
Paul calls the believers in Jesus in the church in Ephesus to recognize the times they live in and to act accordingly. They were to “[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). In early Christianity, evil was viewed as a characteristic of the last days—the time period from Christ’s ascension until His return (see 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3).
The Word Biblical Commentary says, “It is possible that for some of its force, the notion of evil days here retains the implications of its use in the apocalyptic tradition, where these evil days are the last days, are precarious, and will only endure for a limited period. This would produce a sense of urgency about the remaining present and its opportunities.”
Peter is encouraging believers to understand that opportunities to do good are all the more important when we consider that each passing day brings us one day closer to the last day—the day when Jesus returns.