Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Walking Circumspectly

This morning we were greeted with a shiny coating of ice from freezing rain that had fallen overnight, making everything rather slick. It was by the providence of God that I made it to the parking lot at work without a collision. And the walk across the icy parking lot was no piece of cake either. I found myself taking very deliberate, slow steps as I made my way to the door.

As I picked my steps from the car to the door, a snippet of a verse (Ephesians 5:15) popped into my head, in the old KJV vernacular: "See then that ye walk circumspectly..." That's what I was doing, for sure. Being extraordinarily careful how I walked on that icy ground, lest I slip and fall and cause myself harm. But since "circumspectly" isn't an everyday word for most of us, what's the NASB say? "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise." Be careful how you walk. Man, that's exactly what I was doing.

Looking closer at the Greek, though, gives more insight into the meaning of this command that Paul gives to us as believers in Christ. The words first refer to watching, Greek βλεπετε, meaning to look at, to see and take care. As I was walking on the ice that's what I was doing - looking down at where my feet were going with each step. Making sure that I was stepping on a firm place that wouldn't cause me to slip or trip. And the Greek word for walk here is περιπατειτε, literally meaning to walk all around. The most common translation of this term in the NASB is "walk about". Notwithstanding the Australian use of the phrase, it refers to everywhere you walk.

So Paul's command is to watch very closely each step that we take as we conduct ourselves in this fallen world, wherever and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. We are not to be like so many unwise and foolish people who blunder on through life, with their feet taking them down whatever path they find themselves on. Proverbs has a lot to say about the paths that we take, and the consequences of those steps. We are to keep our eyes watching where we are walking, making each step in life an act of righteous worship to Christ. We are to look around as we walk, keeping away from those obstacles that would trip us or slippery spots that would cause us to fall. We are to remember that the world we walk through is far, far more treacherous than any icy sidewalk, because as Paul says, "the days are evil."

So watch closely how you walk, Christian, wherever you walk. Walk circumspectly, taking deliberate steps that keep you on the path of righteousness. Because as Paul says, "you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light." (Ephesians 5:8)

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