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Posts Tagged ‘diligence’


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– 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. – Ephesians 5:15-17

– Things never go wrong at the moment you expect them to.  When you are completely relaxed – totally oblivious to any potential danger – that’s when things go wrong. – C.K. Martin

Did you ever have a chore, job, or task – either where you worked or while at home – requiring your utmost concentration and focus throughout?  Maybe it was a major project necessitating continual communication between two or more people … perhaps pertaining to the construction of something.  Regardless of what it was, you knew that a steady hand, keen eye, and an attentive mind were called for at all times.

Whatever the nature, you knew one false move, any failure to follow a single step in a set of instructions – such as forgetting to turn something on or off at a precise time – could have catastrophic results.  One little slip – one bit of sloppiness could spell disaster. You knew you had to be alert and aware, carefully operating without haste – to keep something from falling down or apart – now or in the future.

All of this wariness described above fits the definition of being circumspect.  It is a word derived from both the Latin “circumspectus” – meaning to be cautious – and “circumspicere” – meaning to look around.  It is how all believers are to walk and follow Jesus – so we are not seen as fools in God’s eyes.  Our days on this earth are evil, and we must do everything we can to evade it (Matthew 6:34, lead passage).

In the classic country tune “I Walk the Line” sung by Johnny Cash, we hear these words: “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine – I keep my eyes wide open all the time.”  Lyrics like these could fit quite nicely into Proverbs.  Why?  God tells us to keep our heart with all diligence (constant care); for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).  The substance of a diligent man is precious (Proverbs 12:27).

God also tell us to keep our eyes wide open – always watching what’s going on around us.  Staying sober and vigilant as the devil roars around like a starving lion daily trying to devour even the most steadfast Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).  We’re also to watch as we don’t know what hour Jesus is returning – and we don’t want to be found doing something other than His will (Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:43, Revelation 3:3).

Therefore, Christian circumspection is the quality of always being alert, wary, and on guard against things going wrong.  Unwilling to take any risks without thinking prudently beforehand about all possible consequences, prior to doing or saying anything.  It requires daily submission and humble obedience to God, persisting in prayer, and resisting Satan (1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:11-18).

It is a daily walk of weighing all possible outcomes against each other.  It is asking ourselves questions such as “Is this going to give an appearance of evil to another (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?”  Or, “Is this going to cause a brother or sister to stumble in their walk with God (Romans 14:21)?”  Just like Uzza, people we don’t even know can die if we fail to circumspectly seek His counsel first (1 Chronicles 13:3-11).

Circumspection means taking heed unto ourselves – diligently keeping our soul and God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 4:9, Joshua 22:5).  Continuing in His sound doctrine and speaking words becoming such – so we do not start doing things to the contrary (1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Timothy 4:16, Titus 2:1).  So we don’t get tossed to and fro – or get moved away to another gospel (Ephesians 4:14, Galatians 1:6)

Therefore, we are well-advised to take fast hold of God’s instructions, for such is our life (Proverbs 4:13, Proverbs 13:10).  If we do not, we will die, going astray in our greatness of our folly (Proverbs 5:23). Folly means lacking normal prudence or foresight.  If we are hasty in our spirit, we exalt this folly.  If we are circumspect, we are slow to wrath and of great understanding (Proverbs 14:29).

In today’s Christianity, any church presenting an image to their members of having fun, entertainment, and excitement with their faith, will likely find few circumspect Christians in their pews.  Circumspect believers are ready to hear God’s Word – not have a good time with it (Ecclesiastes 5:1).  A rocking, rowdy service is not their idea of church; much preferring a house of mourning – not mirth (Ecclesiastes 7:4).

Words such as fun, entertainment, and excitement don’t appear anywhere in the KJV.  Sober, vigilant, diligence, and watch are found several times.  Our Father warns us all against being spiritually asleep throughout Scripture.  For there is a sinister spirit by the name of Satan who must delight in sneaking up on snoozing or unrepentant saints to take captive at will (2 Timothy 2:25-26, Revelation 3:2-3).

Christians are to be children of the light – and of the day; not of the nighttime or darkness.  We are not to slumber spiritually – but to stay sober and watchful. Putting on our breastplate of faith and love, and salvation’s hope as a helmet (Ephesians 6:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8).  Girding up the loins of our mind and staying sober to the very end in hopes of receiving His grace (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:13).

The more we learn circumspection in our Christian life, the more it should reflect in what comes out of our mouths.  We have had our conversation in this world (2 Corinthians 1:12).  If our talk remains centered on worldly things, full of idle or idol words, we’re still minding earthly matters (Matthew 12:36, Philippians 3:19).  We’re still entangled with affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  Our walk will follow.

We cannot do this and be circumspect in all things as God commands according to His Word – for we are still talking about worldly gods such as favorite movie stars or pro athletes (Exodus 23:13).  We are still freely and foolishly following idolatry – not keeping ourselves from it by fleeing (1 John 5:21).  Far from circumspection, for we haven’t separated from such yet (1 Corinthians 10:14-15, 2 Corinthians 6:16-17).

Although God does not respect any person (Romans 2:11), it seems quite certain He is well-pleased when we have learned how to be circumspect.  Carefully walking around soberly and wide-awake daily (Titus 2:12) as we grow in His grace (2 Peter 3:18).  Not giving any place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), and thoroughly thinking through all we say and do in keeping with His truth – ready to redeem our time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. – Proverbs 14:14

– Return, you backsliding children, and I (God) will heal your backslidings. – Jeremiah 3:22

Backsliding as a believer is never a positive thing – for it indicates still being filled with one’s own ways (lead verse).  It is slipping in personal faith – marking a heart, mind, and soul no longer earnestly heeding things first heard (Hebrews 2:1).  It feels like moving forward a few steps in faith some days, and tumbling backwards on others.  To and fro it goes – and it can become a perpetual path (Jeremiah 8:5).

Steady backsliding is caused by gravitating towards loving this world and its things again (1 John 2:15), or wavering back and forth between the world and Word (1 Corinthians 10:21).  It is not moving straight ahead towards salvation.  Traveling as such isn’t in accordance with God’s truth.  It signifies a moveable mind, a heart not set aright, and a spirit not steadfast with Him (Psalm 78:8, 1 Corinthians 15:58).

Such a course at any time demands a correction in direction.  A total turn-around towards God without shifting into reverse again somewhere down the road. It is an about-face setting affections on things above once again (Colossians 3:2).  Refusing to accept His assistance in healing any backsliding, or failure to heed instructions how to – is in err (second lead verse, Proverbs 10:17, Hebrews 12:25)

Backsliding indicates several undesirable attributes in a Christian.  It means one is relapsing into old and bad behavior (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It is losing resolve and giving into temptations – causing one to err once again against God’s ways (Psalm 95:10, James 1:14-16).  It’s an eternally dangerous departure from the narrow path to heaven, keeping one walking down the wide highway to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

The wicked one is always lying in wait for us when we slip.  Ready and willing to lead wavering, wandering, or backsliding believers away towards a shipwrecked faith (Ephesians 4:14, 2 Peter 3:17, 1 Timothy 1:19). Physical or spiritual, it is very difficult to salvage any vessel in such a state.  It’s hard to stand fast and live in the Lord if we’re ever spiritually drifting, slipping or falling away from God (1 Thessalonians 3:8).

God’s soul takes no pleasure in anyone drawing back from their faith (Hebrews 10:38, 11:6).  It signals falling for things of this world again, and fading away from the Word (1 John 2:15).  It is being unrepentant (Acts 17:30).  Walking with God in such a manner creates uncircumspect steps of stumbling and tripping along with the truth, paving a trail of much confusion (Ephesians 5:15, 1 Peter 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 14:33).

Left continually unconfessed and unaddressed before God (1 John 1:9), backsliding makes us hold fast to our heart’s deceit from the womb (Jeremiah 8:5, Jeremiah 17:9) – refusing to search our ways and return to Him (Lamentations 3:40).  Sadly, some will still declare their salvation certain, despite walking so contrary to God; and constantly experiencing the pain of falling down a lot (Leviticus 26:23-24).

There really is a spiritual stairway with specific steps leading up heaven.  As the famous song mentions – there is still time to change the road we’re on – if it’s the wrong one.  If we should be sliding backwards more than moving ahead much, it can certainly feel like we are traveling along to the words of another old popular song by Paul Simon – “You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip, sliding away.”

However, if we follow these steps God’s way, He promises we will never fall, and an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into heaven (2 Peter 1:3-11).  It is why we must give diligence to make our calling and election as Christians sure (2 Peter 1:10).  Jesus warns we will be called robbers and thieves if we climb up any other way than God’s (John 10:1, Galatians 1:6).  Backsliding isn’t the right way.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Keep your heart with all diligence – for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Being diligent is being careful – persistently without pause.  Sadly, we can sometimes take better and more consistent care of our cars than our hearts. These hearts we have are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  It takes dedicated diligence and discipline throughout every day to guard them.

To keep them from being distracted, discouraged, and disappointed by all of Satan‘s subtle devices.  We cannot be ignorant of them – or he will gain advantage of our hearts, minds, and souls (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Without our shield of faith, his fiery darts will hit and ignite blazes in them – time and again (Ephesians 6:16)

We are to give all diligence to our faith, then adding to it virtue.  To virtue, we add knowledge – to knowledge, temperance.  To temperance we add patience – to patience, godliness.  To godliness, we add charity (2 Peter 1:4-7).  These all keep our hearts from being corrupted by the world again – and from being blinded by its bright lights (2 Peter 1:4,9, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

We have to live in this world.  However, we are to no longer lust and long for the lies it offers – of which the devil is father of (John 8:44, Titus 2:12).  Still, we are going to witness immoral and ungodly behavior wherever we go.  We can’t avoid such things completely – unless we are literally living under a rock.

Jesus Christ said such things cannot defile us by themselves (Matthew 15:11).  But – our hearts are like vessels – containers which are continually filled and emptied with either the world or Word.  We are to be diligent as to which one we keep more of in our hearts.  Before they are filled to the brim – before they break and burst – and something hurtful comes blurting out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18-20).

If we are holding more of the world – we’re withholding space for the Word – and vice versa. Whatever abounds – is bound to come forth in our words and actions – for out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  And, life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).

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