How To Get the Most Out of Life

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL, May 6, 2001 by Albert Harmon

Eph. 5:15-17

15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Everyone wants to get the most out of life. People will spend millions of dollars to enjoy life. Even 15 million to get to a shuttle ride. People work to get everything they can, money, possessions, houses, lands. We have all seen lives of the rich and famous and we wonder how anyone could have that much money.

But what we do not see is that these people are not necessarily happy. Especially when they get to the end of life and begin to think of where they have come up short.

In the passage this morning Paul is writing to a group of Christians who have been saved from every form of excess and debauchery. Their culture was not all that different than ours. Get all you can out of life, they say. Live life to the fullest.

But did they? Satan always has a short cut. He says buy a lottery ticket, so you do not have to work. I heard the other day that Illinois has thousands of compulsive gamblers. These are the one who will gamble and loose everything in an attempt to get everything. They are kind of all or nothing people.


  1. Walk perfectly, See then that you walk circumspectly,
    1. The word "circumspectly" (v. 15) carries the idea of looking around carefully so as not to stumble. It means walking intelligently and not in ignorance. How foolish to stumble along through life and never seek to know the will of the Lord! Instead of walking "accurately" (which is equivalent to "circumspectly"), they miss the mark, miss the road, and end up suffering on some detour. God wants us to be wise and understand His will for our lives. As we obey His will, we "buy up the opportunities" (redeem the time, v. 16) and do not waste time, energy, money, and talent in that which is apart from His will. Lost opportunities may never be regained; they are gone forever. Wiersbe
  2. Do be played for a fool, not as fools but as wise,
    1. Jer 4:22 "For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge." NKJV
    2. Job 28:28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.' " NKJV
    3. Wisdom is seen in obeying God; Deut 4:6 Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' NKJV
  3. Make proper use of your time, redeeming the time,
    1. You never get that minute again.
      1. There is a tendency to waste the life God has given us.
      2. To never really accomplish anything of enduring value.
      3. It is like the story of the plowman plowing the field and stopping to chase a field mouse while the day continues on.
      4. We live in the day when God has blessed us with abundance of time.
      5. Now we do not think so for our days are filled and our schedules are full.
      6. But back when people worked, literally worked by hand in hard labor for 12 hours every day for at least 6 days a week, there was quite a bit less time to kill.
      7. Rom 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. NKJV
    2. They days are evil, because the days are evil.
      1. But there have always been those things that would allure us away from God.
      2. And today more so than ever before.
      3. Because the times in which you live are evil. There are many allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin. Such were those that would tempt them to go to places of sinful indulgence and revelry where their time would be wasted, and worse than wasted. As these temptations abounded, they ought therefore to be more especially on their guard against a sinful and unprofitable waste of time. This exhortation may be addressed to all, and is applicable to all periods. The sentiment is, that we ought to be solicitous to improve our time to some useful purpose, because "there are, in an evil world, so many temptations to waste it." Time is given us for most valuable purposes. There are things enough to be done to occupy it all, and no one need have it hang heavy on his hands. He that has a soul to be saved from eternal death, need not have one idle moment. He that has a heaven to win, has enough to do to occupy all his time. Barnes' Notes
  4. Don't be stupid, Therefore do not be unwise,
    1. What is he saying.
      1. Stop becoming foolish, senseless, without intelligence, and lacking in wisdom; and start exercising good judgment and reason.
    2. Do not become madmen. Here is a most evident allusion to the orgies of Bacchus, in which his votaries acted like madmen; running about, tossing their heads from shoulder to shoulder, appearing to be in every sense completely frantic. See the whole of the passage in Livy, to which I have referred at Eph 5:12. Adam Clarke's Commentary
  5. Seek to understand the will of the Lord., understand what the will of the Lord is.
    1. but understand: Discerning the will of the Lord is not a matter of feeling or emotion, but of mental understanding, applying our minds to Scripture. Nelson Study Bible
    2. What the will of the Lord is. Be a Bible Christian; give God's Word the place it deserves, then you will understand what He wants you to be and do. The entrance of God's Word gives light (Ps 119:130). God's will is revealed in God's Word. Our first concern is God's will; it is not what is most profitable, what is most pleasurable, or what is most honorable. KJV Bible commentary
    3. It is the will of God that ye should be sober, chaste, holy, and pure. Get a thorough understanding of this; acquaint yourselves with God's will, that ye may know how to glorify him. Adam Clarke's Commentary
    4. 1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. NKJV
    5. 1 Thess 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. NKJV
    6. Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV
    7. Col 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. NKJV
  6. Jesus is our Example
    1. After His baptism, Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. There, after a spiritual "mountaintop" experience, He confronts satanic temptation. The devil catches Jesus at a time when He is physically weak and, hoping to deceive Him, offers Him things that God the Father already had promised to give Him. However, Satan's offers are not in God's way or in God's time.
      Jesus rebuffs each temptation with a quotation from the Scriptures. What a model Jesus presents for us here- that we must always be alert to satanic deception.
      The devil will not tempt us only with wrong things, but he also will tempt us with "right" things which are not done in God's way or in God's time. We must be spiritually perceptive and strong in the Scriptures-as Jesus was-to deny the deception and stand the test.
    2. But Jesus went to the cross rather than take a Satanic shortcut to glory and pleasure.
    3. That is why today we come to celebrate this supper.
    4. That is why He died for us.
    5. That is why our eternal lives are secure.

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at