Essay: Focusing Our Lives on God
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)
November 2014

Essay: Focusing Our Lives on God
August 16, 2009

Ephesians 5:15-20: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
This passage reminds us that our opportunity to serve God is limited. Paul recognized the pressing need to serve God, “because the days are evil.” If the days were evil at that time, then they are arguably much more so today. For example, humanity has institutionalized cruelty in ways that allow the torture and murder of innocent creatures to a far greater extent than was imaginable in Paul’s time.
I do not think that Paul condemned all forms of enjoyment. But we should avoid activities that impede our calling. Drunkenness, for example, impairs judgment, and we have been called to “look carefully” and be wise. I think we can become “drunk” in other ways than excess alcohol consumption. A contemporary form of drunkenness is obsession with trivial matters, which takes our minds off what really counts. As monumental human and nonhuman needs go unaddressed, the public focuses much of its time and energy on sports, the foibles of actors, petty jealousies, and unnecessary consumer products. We don’t need to place all of our attention on weighty matters, but our culture’s general head-in-the-sand mentality permits great injustices, and leaves society-at-large very vulnerable to catastrophe.

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