By Dr. Tom Walker
Ephesians 5:14-16 says “…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Note the two words from our text that say “walk circumspectly.” The first thing I believe we should take notice of is the verb “walk.” Since it is a verb there are several aspects of the verb we should notice. The verb of a sentence is where the action is. First, the verb is plural in the Greek New Testament from which our Bible came. That means every believer has a responsibility to walk like a Christian should walk. God expects all (not a few) of his children to walk circumspectly.
Secondly, the verb “walk” is present tense. That tense speaks of continuous or ongoing action. So many Christians live their lives like a yoyo when it comes to consistency in their lives. Maybe one day the believer will live in an upright manner, while another day he may cater to the flesh and not be upright in his walk. God wants us to be consistent, constant, reliable, and steady.
The action word “walk” is also active voice. That means we cannot depend on someone else to walk the walk for us. It is our responsibility. We are to actively live the life God wants us to live.
“Walk” is also indicative, which simply means it is an action represented as certain or realized. All born-again believers can certainly, through the power of Almighty God, live the Christian life. There is no doubt about that fact.
The word “circumspectly”, as part of speech is an adverb, which describes and tells us something about the verb. It comes from a word that is translated as “most straightest” in our King James Bibles. The Greek word (akribos), which is here translated “circumspectly” which is translated in our KJV in other places as “diligently” and as “perfectly.”
I am going to use the translation of the root word from which “circumspectly” is derived, as the way of describing what I believe the word is saying. It can mean “most straightest” (Acts 26:5). In Acts 26:5 Paul speaks of his past religious affiliation as a Jew as being a Pharisee, “the most straightest sect of his past religion.” The word expresses a life that is walking straight in the will of God rather than walking in a deviated path. So many people who say they know the Lord take detours oftentimes from the straight and narrow way.
Why Should We Walk Circumspectly?
You should walk in this way because of expectations. That is what the Lord wants for you. We should always be concerned about what the will of the Lord is for our lives. That is a trait of a true, dedicated believer. Christ saved us not to walk as a lost world does, but rather to walk as a saved child of God should. Sometimes it seems some people in the world know more about how a Christian should walk than some believers do.
Walk-in this way because of testimony. Your testimony is one thing you do not want to lose. Your life may testify in a good way while others degrade and demean you, saying things about you that are unjustified and not true. The Bible says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Prov.22:1). There is nothing that will grieve you more inwardly than knowing that someone has determined they are going to destroy your reputation. Regardless of what others may say about you, your life will speak for itself. 1 Peter 2:15, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” You silence the ignorance of men by simply doing right. By doing good you reduce to silence the ignorance of men who are unreflecting and unintelligent. Your upright life will bring to nothing the criticism of the uninformed and inaccurate people.
Walk-in this way because of satisfaction. No true saint of God can walk in less than an upright manner and have peace and calm in their hearts. It is when we do what we know we ought to do that we have the peace of God in our hearts. In Philippians 4:9 the Apostle Paul wrote: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” When we do what we should do, it is then we have the peace we desire for our lives. If we go against what we should do to live upright, then there is turmoil and agitation on the inside.
Where Should We Walk Circumspectly?
Everywhere we go we should be the same in our Christian lives. How can we live one way when we are at church, then turn around and live the opposite when we are outside the church? People in the world need to see genuine people, whose lives manifest the way a true child of God should live. Inconsistency in the lives of God’s children turns people away from the things of God. Too many believers are like a weathervane, they turn whichever way the wind is blowing.
How Can We Walk Circumspectly?
First, you must realize the evil days necessitate it. There is so much evil that abounds in our day. The Bible says in Eph. 5:16, “the days are evil.” Since the days are evil, we need to redeem the time or make the most of every opportunity to do good as we live each day of our lives.
Also, we must realize that it is foolish to live any other way. What is the main mark of a fool? He or she does not want to acknowledge or follow God. The Bible says, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). That verse cannot be used only in reference to an atheist, but it can be used of an ungodly, self-ruled person who says, “No God for me. I will live my own life the way I want to live it. I do not need God or His Word to tell me what to do.” Psalm 14:1 describes the fool as one who is—- corrupt, that does abominable works, and as one who does not practice good.
A very important factor in walking circumspectly is to be filled with the Holy Ghost. We are commanded as believers to be filled or controlled by God’s Spirit in Eph. 5:18. As the drunkard is controlled by his alcohol, they believe it to be under the control of the Spirit. Compare Acts 1:8. If we are not Holy Ghost controlled, then it stands to reason you will be controlled by the flesh or the old nature. If that be the case, things will not turn out very well in your life.
It is also important that you have a song in your heart. Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” It is easier to live in an upright manner if you have a spiritual song in your heart. We need to sing songs about the Lord Himself. I love to sing about Heaven but oh how I love to have a song about Jesus and His salvation in my heart.
Having a thankful spirit also makes it easier to live an upright way. Ephesians 5:20 tells us, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When you grumble and complain, it is as though you are discontented either with the Lord or His providence in your life. The upright person is always moving forward with a thankful spirit.
Live circumspectly and when you will stand before the Lord, it will pay off in eternal dividends.