TOPIC:“Living the Way God Wants You to Live”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“Be very careful, then, how you live” (Ephesians 5:15, NIV).
The title of this message raises two important questions. First, the stated question: How does God want a Christian to live their life? Then the searching question: Am I living my life the way God wants me to live? I want to begin this message with a statement followed by a story. The statement comes from D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of past years, who said: “A Christian is the world's Bible and some of them need revising.” What he meant was that their behavior contradicted their belief. Their conduct did not match their conversation. They did not live the way God wanted them to live.
Now the story! Many years ago an inquisitive young student asked a Harvard professor this question: “What does it mean to be a Christian?” As this teacher glanced out the window to ponder the question, he saw the saintly Philip Brooks walking by. Immediately he said to the student: “Well, as a matter of fact, it is hard to define a Christian, but there goes one.” There was a man who lived the way God wanted him to live. It goes without saying that the best argument for Christianity is a Christian.
As we come to the words of our text, “Be very careful, then, how you live,” we need to remind ourselves that we are the best reflectors to others of what a Christian should be. The LIFE we live, the WORDS we speak, and the SERVICE we render will reveal to others the kind of Christian we really are. Let's investigate together according to the Apostle Paul the kind of living that God expects from each one of us.
To begin with, if we are to live the way God desires us to live, it will involve EXHIBITING the WISDOM of God. Hear again the words of Paul in verse 15: “Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise.” Kenneth Wuest in his expanded translation is a little more descriptive in his rendering of these words: “Be constantly taking heed therefore how accurately you are conducting yourselves, not as unwise ones but as wise ones.” Similar words by Paul are found in Colossians: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders” (4:5, NIV).
Now a foolish man doesn't care how he conducts himself, but a wise man does. Careful living is the effect of real wisdom. Even our divine Master in the Sermon on the Mount where He sets forth the pattern of Christian living for those of us who are citizens of His Kingdom declared: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken . . .