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(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)

– Remember not the former things; neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth.  Shall you not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness – and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19

– “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll

It can be easy for any of us to go back to a certain point in time from our past – and decide things would be much different today – if we had just done things differently in many of our yesterdays.  Maybe we should have gotten in on a promising investment plan.  Maybe we could have taken that new job. Maybe if we would have married another mate – or no one at all – our life might not be so miserable.

If we are not careful, we can start to wallow in our wishes of what “should have, could have, and would have been.”  We can start to create a long list of ideal situations which would exist for us today. We should have more money, we could be higher on the corporate ladder, we would be happier – and so on. Except we may think we made the wrong choices somehow – and such things will never be.

We cannot spend our short time on this earth trying to redirect it to a “back then and when” point – and start over again.  All of what was written above – applies just as much in reverse (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Prosperous or poor – perfect or problematic, God requires what is past (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  Dwelling in it denies the evil time we are to redeem now (Matthew 6:34, Ephesians 5:16, Colossians 4:5).

Thoreau once wrote “Do not look back unless you’re planing on going that way.”  If we walked down any street with our head turned back over our shoulder – it would not be long before we started bumping into people, pets, and lampposts.  We might even step off a curb and get run over.  Evil might even be around the next corner – and we would never see it coming (Judges 20:34).

What lies ahead can be frightening – for it is always the unknown (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).  We can live in constant fear of having our worst fears realized (Job 3:25-26).  It’s why firm faith in God is essential for our existence; for He is always one step ahead.  If our Father declared the end of this world from the start (Isaiah 46:10) – He certainly knows the ends of our beginnings (Psalm 139:16).

It’s not wrong to reminisce – but remaining there as a want for what we may not have now; is.  Looking back like this is sin, for it is basically the opposite of faith’s meaning (Romans 14:23, Hebrews 11:1). Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14). Still, how frustrating must it be for Him to make new paths in the wilderness, if we prefer driving down the roads of life looking in the rear-view mirror?

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