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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

A Christianity as Befits the Saints

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise...'

(Ephesians 5:15 NKJV)

I often hear the Pauline exhortation recalled and quoted "... be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18), followed by an invocation to God for a Christian journey totally under the guidance of the Spirit. Before this, the apostle exhorts to live Christianity "as befits the saints", or by separating oneself from the forms, attitudes and situations that have no parallel in the Christian faith. And this is where I want to turn my attention. Paul writes: "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (vv. 15-17). In his spiritual journey, the Christian is not a transporter, that is a passenger of the church, loaded on the generous shoulders of someone. He has his own legs and is called to walk wisely, like a wise man. The Lord has given us the wisdom and tools necessary to succeed. As believers we have also been called to redeem time; all that was lost before we knew the grace of God must be recovered. Today, more than ever, we cannot leave it out. The thief on the cross next to Jesus had very little time, but as soon as he recognized the greatness of who he had beside him, he did not hesitate, immediately asking to receive his forgiveness. We have been given more time, but, for many, a good part has been wasted. Scripture, however, does not condemn us, but asks us to recover what we have ahead because the days are evil, ferocious and full of suffering. We can no longer postpone what can be done today.

Scripture tells us not to be careless and not to lull ourselves. How many oversights are on the agenda, with the risk of causing us serious injuries. The apostle also reminds us to understand what the Lord's will is (v 17 b), to grasp it. Instead, we are often tempted to flee from his will and hide, as Adam did in the garden of Eden or Jonah when he perched under a castor tree. That of Jonah is a circumstance that represents us well. The prophet, without a well-founded justification, did not approve of God's action, that is, having shown mercy while sparing the destruction of Nineveh. In protest, he took refuge on the hill, to check if the Lord had really spared him. Precisely in that place the Lord gives birth to a castor tree to shelter Jonah from the sun in the hot hours. Then he sent a worm to devour the plant, which disappeared the next morning. The prophet, angry at what had happened, cursed her. Sometimes we confuse our desires, our ambitions and our dreams with the divine will, when instead it is only and exclusively ours. Even Jesus himself, while knowing well what the Father's will was, in his humanity asked to move the bitter chalice of the cross. He knew he had to die for our sins, yet he fought in Gethsemane. After asking, he surrendered to what the Father wanted: "Not mine but Your will be done".

We, on the other hand, desire in a selfish way, and then ritually tell Him "Thy will be done". Our challenge is to understand his will even before expressing ours, realizing that it goes on even without us. Yes, because no one is indispensable, nor can he stop his design. There are moments in history when God has changed his will, but it is He who does it. He does not repent, but sometimes he changes his mind. How do you understand God's will? Verse 18 invites us not to get drunk with wine, as if to say not to resort to human artifices. The only plausible way to understand it is to be filled with the Spirit. How you do it? The literal translation of being filled offers different facets. First of all, being blown by the wind like a boat in the middle of the sea. Then be covered, as the flesh was covered with salt to keep it, to say humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, submitting to others. Finally, also be pregnant, soaked so that we wet those around us and do not know God. We ask the Lord that his Spirit pushes our life like a boat, so that by navigating we will know what we know in part today. Experience after experience we will be a consolation to those in the storm with his boat.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 30

July 19, Psalms 23-25; Acts 21:18-40

July 20, Psalms 26-28; Acts 22

July 21, Psalms 29-30; Acts 23:1-15

July 22, Psalms 31-32; Acts 23:16-35

July 23, Psalms 33-34; Acts 24

July 24, Psalms 35-36; Acts 25

July 25, Psalms 37-39; Acts 26


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