How do you spend your time? Are you busily working for things that don’t matter, serving yourself and your desires? Or are you focused on the eternal, truly living for and serving Christ and His purposes?
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)
In our modern world, it is exceedingly easy to become so preoccupied with the trivial and irrelevant amusements available to us on our I-Phones, Play Stations, and laptops that we unintentionally lose track of the amount of time we waste on the insignificant. Yet even as we bemoan this loss, we must admit that we are to blame.
It is we who make the choices in our lives. We are the ones who choose to watch Netflix; we are the ones who choose to play a video game; we are the ones who choose to go online. And while none of this activity is necessarily wrong, God admonishes us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” What does this mean, and how does it apply in this context?
To walk circumspectly is to live wisely, carefully–these days we might call it intentional living. The truth is that we are all Divinely allocated only a certain number of days, which of course break down into a certain number of hours, to live. “…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16 NIV)
We will not be alive in our physical bodies forever–moreover, we might lose our practical functionality long before we actually die–and Scripture is so clear about the significance of using our time in a God-fearing way. We are His stewards, He tells us, of our lives–of our moments, days and years, of our finances, and of our abilities. “Or do you not know that…you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)
And what is required of a steward? “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) Faithful means being busy doing what your Master wants you to be doing, not self-willing or behaving as if you have no Master. Jesus thought this point was important enough to devote an entire parable to:
“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man [Jesus] will come when least expected. A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job…I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:44-51 NLT)
We must not tell ourselves, “My Master won’t be back for awhile” (or “I’m still young, I’m not going to die and have to face God yet–I can get my life in order later”). If I decide to party now–and “party” is anything other than what I know God wants me to be busy doing–I must know that “the Master will return unannounced and unexpected” and that I am at risk of being “cut to pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Notice that “partying” and other misbehaving instead of serving my Lord identifies me as a hypocrite–as someone who only pretends to belong to Christ!
Even Peter warns us to take our conduct here seriously:
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ..” (1 Peter 1:17-19)
So how do you walk? Do you walk wisely and circumspectly, a faithful steward of what God has given you and of where He has placed you? Or are you denying Him with your life as you continue to serve yourself and consistently choose your own pleasures?
Help us walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. Because of Jesus–in His name and His character–Amen.