Keep My Lamp Trimmed and Burning

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. Do not be drunk with wine, which will ruin you, but be filled with the Spirit.                      Ephesians 5:15-18 (NCV)

Wise living comes from more than the education I have accumulated and how I have applied that education. Wisdom is also the ability to discern qualities and information that may not be quantitative by mere physical or intellectual means. Wisdom is being thirsty for knowledge while at the same time knowing that knowledge will not always give me the answers I need.

Paul says I will avoid being foolish if I learn what the Lord wants me to do. I would say it is then doing what the Lord wants me to do. That brings me to the sticky point of giving up what I may want and choosing God’s way instead. And there is a point of wisdom: God knows more than me so His way is always the better way.

Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the skilled talker of this world? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. In the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe. The Jews ask for miracles, and the Greeks want wisdom. But we preach a crucified Christ. This is a big problem to the Jews, and it is foolishness to those who are not Jews. But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called – Jews and Greeks. Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can brag in his presence. Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin. So, as the Scripture says, “If someone wants to brag, he should brag only about the Lord.”                     1 Corinthians 1:20-31 (NCV)

Living wisely is an attainable goal when my eyes are on Jesus. My standard, my example, in all things, is right here in plain sight. There is no situation that does not have a ‘Jesus answer’ to follow. It may not be the answer I want to hear or see but it is there. It may not be an easy answer but even in that God provides His Spirit to strengthen me and give me courage and peace to follow His path.

I was sitting in my office today, praying, and I stopped because I realized that even in prayer my eyes were on me and my viewpoint of what was going on in my life. I was like Peter who gets out of the boat and sinks because he is looking at his view of the storm. He took his eyes off Jesus and sank! And here I was in prayer, sinking. When I changed my focus in prayer and said, “Here is what is going on, Jesus” and just reached out my hand, knowing Jesus would pull me up. And He did. Do I have all the answers? The “for sure” answer I have is – my hand is still in Jesus’ hand. The rest of the answers may become clear in His time. As long as my hand is clasped in His hand, we will be walking the same path.

[Jesus said,]“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” Matthew 25:1-4 (NIV)

It would be wise of me to keep my lamp trimmed and burning. It is the “lamp” of my relationship with Jesus that will get me through day to day. Instead of stumbling around in the dark of my own ideas and plan, I can walk with my lamp burning bright and Jesus holding my hand.

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