Verse of the Day – Ephesians 5:15
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise…
As we are Learning to Walk we are to be finding out from the Scripture how to Walk in Wisdom. Wisdom is mentioned many times in the Bible. It is “the principle thing” (Prov. 4:7). It is to be sought after, bought, treasured, listened to, stored up, found, kept, taught, learned, and loved. We are even told that if any of us lacks wisdom then all we have to do is ask God and He will give it to us liberally (James 1:5).
So what then is wisdom? If we are told to walk in wisdom and are expected to be wise then we need to know what wisdom is. The best definition I have found for wisdom says that wisdom is skill in applying God’s Word to our circumstances in daily life. How do we respond to life, trials, suffering, blessing, etc.? And if having wisdom is a skill we can develop and hone then how will that change the way we think, talk, and act as we mature in the faith?
We will learn that there are five things that we must do if we are to walk in wisdom, and each of these things will definitely affect the way we think, talk, and act. Walking in wisdom is something that changes our lives and our responses to people and to circumstances around us.
To start then today we see that according to Ephesians 5:15 if we are to walk in wisdom we must start by walking circumspectly. To walk circumspectly is to walk with great care, accuracy, and precision. This involves taking deliberate and carefully thought out steps. It is not running or rushing. It is not walking in a manner where we do not know where we are going.
This is the opposite of stumbling, tripping, or stubbing a toe on the furniture. It is not being clumsy or careless. To walk circumspectly is to be careful, accurate, and precise in the way that we walk.
One way that we do this is to be sure that we do not “step out of ranks.” 1 Thess. 5:14 tells us that we are to “warn those who are unruly.” The phrase “unruly” is a Greek term that refers to a soldier stepping out of ranks. It is as if in a marching column of men one soldier is out of step and is messing up the cadence and unity of the platoon.
The word was also used in Greek society to refer to those who did not show up for work. There was a job to do and someone took the day off – either sick, pretending to be sick, or simply absent. It affects the others at work when an employee doe snot show up. It means more work for others and it means that the one not showing up will have to catch up upon returning.
We are told that we are to warn each other so that we do not get out of line or step out of ranks. This means that we must know how to walk, where to walk, and what will hinder us. Let us look at these different aspects of walking, starting with the last mentioned.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” If we are to walk or to run effectively then we must know what hinders us. Would a runner run very well with a weight tied around his legs? Or would being bound with a chain help him in the task of completing the race? Of course not. A chain and a weight would ensnare the runner. It would make it difficult to run and most surely impossible to win the race.
Sin ensnares us. Sin weighs us down. Sin prevents us from running as we should. That is why if we are to run this race, or walk and live the Christian life successfully then we must lay aside the weight and remove the sin that ensnares us. This is confession. We repent and confess our sin when we fail to meet God’s standard and so we get the weight off and are able to run rightly.
If we want to know where to walk, then we understand that the Bible tells us to walk in love, to walk in light, to walk is wisdom, to walk in truth, to walk uprightly, to walk in obedience, and to walk worthy of the calling with which we have been called. To do all of this means that we need to know how to walk in the first place.
Walking of course is used to refer to living. This is how we live our lives. It is how we “walk the walk.” And what is the foundational element that influences the way we live? It is what we believe. What we believe works its way out in the way we live. Don’t believe me? Think about it this way – as I have said before, if we are out in the woods and we believe that a bear is chasing us, we will run just as fast as if a bear really is chasing us! What we believe is made obvious in the way we act.
As another example, if a man calls 911 and claims to believe that his house is on fire, and then hangs up the phone, walks down the hall, and gets in bed, and pulls the covers up over his head, and goes to sleep – does he really believe that his house is on fire? He surely does not ACT like it. And that is the key. What we believe we act upon.
This is why we are told in the Scriptures that doctrine affects the way we live. Sound doctrine produces godly living. Unsound doctrine produces ungodly living. That means that if we claim to believe sound doctrine but do not live a godly life then it really does not matter what we think we believe! We are deceived. Unsound doctrine produces the works of the flesh. Sound doctrine produces the fruit of the Spirit. So what we believe is evidenced by how we live.
That explains then why it is so important that we are taught and believe sound doctrine. Sound doctrine comes from the Word of God. We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The inspired, inerrant, infallible Holy Bible is profitable for doctrine – for telling us what to believe.
There are those out there who say that doctrine is not important and that doctrine divides. One liberal nutcase recently commented anonymously on a friends blog, “You fundamentalists need to wake up and focus on Jesus and his ministry, rather than get carried away with the wording of a doctrinal statment (sic).” But think about this. Is doctrine important?
Let us agree that we should just focus on Jesus. Okay. Which Jesus? The Jesus who is Lucifer’s brother and the son of a man who became a God and is now populating the earth with his spirit children born to his eternally pregnant wife? (Mormon teaching). Or the Jesus who is not God but the angel Michael who was created by God and has not existed eternally with the Father? (Jehovah’s Witness teaching). Or should we focus on the Jesus who was a man but was filled with the Spirit at his baptism and became the Son of God, and then the Spirit left before he died on the cross – so he was merely a man used of God? Or the Jesus who was a ghost, a phantom that appeared to His disciples but was not really a man? (Gnosticism).
You see, doctrine is important. We see that without doctrine we cannot even define who Jesus is, for without doctrine we do not know what to believe. If we do not know what to believe then we will live accordingly! That is why we see that in order to walk circumspectly we must rightly interpret the Word of God. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is to accurately interpret the Word of God so that we know what to believe and as a result how to walk.
Remember, as we walk with great care and precision, it is the Word of God that is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). The Word illumines the way. It shows us how and where to walk. And we must follow the Word carefully, precisely, and deliberately. The first step then in walking in wisdom, to have the right perspective, is to walk in obedience to the Word of God.
Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)
Bible Reading For Further Study
1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 12:1-2; James 1:5
Prov. 1:2-3, 7, 20; 2:6-7, 10; 3:13; 4:5-7; 8:11-12; 9:10