We all know that words and phrases change in meaning with each generation, for example, I grew up using “bad” for everything that was more than just good. I remember battling over this with my “un-cool” parents and teachers who just didn’t have a clue about the “real” world… And I remember when my dad became “cool” - why? Because he started using “bad” for good. I still use “bad” out of habit but it seems that only the over thirty crowd appreciates it because bad just seems to mean bad again.
Paul uses a word that may be a little skewed in today’s economy…
Look carefully then how you walk…
What does carefully mean to you?
Today, if I were to say to someone “Be careful” it would mean to walk cautiously, to be very watchful and wary in order to avoid danger or to discern enemies before they come too close.
In scripture “be careful” has a much different meaning than it does today.
Careful – to be “full” of care (vigilant, watchful regard and attentive)
- vigilant - attentive to the discovery and avoidance of danger
- watchful - attentive; cautious
- regard - the effect on the mind
- attentive - Heedful; intent; observant; regarding with care. It is applied to the senses of hearing and seeing, as an attentive ear or eye; to the application of the mind, as in contemplation
- correctly - in conformity with truth, justice, rectitude, or propriety; according to a standard; agreeable to a copy or original; exactly; accurately; without fault, or error; as, to behave correctly; to write, speak or think correctly; to judge correctly
- accurately - conformed to truth, a standard or model; free from failure, error or defect
- consistently - 1. marked by harmony, regularity or steady continuity 2. marked by agreement : COMPATIBLE 3. showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief or custom
WHY IS PAUL STRESSING A CORRECT, ACCURATE & CONSISTENT LIFESTYLE?
Because the days are evil –
Paul understood that life has the potential to consume the believer. He knew that a halfhearted, laid-back approach to the “Christian walk” would only lead to distraction, struggle, even failure. He knew that in order to survive one must be careful and diligent.
Now, if Paul was this intense about the need to “be careful”—to be correct, accurate and consistent in all that we do, in a time that was not as spiritually dangerous as today… How much more then should we live a “careful” lifestyle today?
I wonder how he would express this urgency today; what word or words we he use… Maybe he would say be very meticulous, cautious, painstaking or even shrewd in your daily practice. Peter uses a powerful visual when he says – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…” 1Peter 5:8-9 ESV
The second warning in this plea from Paul is found v.17 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
“What does it mean to not be foolish?”
Foolish - 1. Void of understanding or sound judgment; weak in intellect 2. Unwise; imprudent; acting without judgment or discretion 3. Proceeding from folly or marked with folly; silliness; vanity; pettiness 4. Ridiculous; despicable
In scripture foolishness has the connotation of acting wicked, sinful or without regard to the divine law and glory. So, as Christians we are to act correctly, accurately and consistently, which is to walk according to counsel of the Lord; simply, to live as Jesus exampled for us. To not walk this way is to be a fool, someone who is acting wicked, sinful or without regard to God’s law and glory.
I really enjoy reading from The Message Bible, the simplicity of what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us is usually captured quite well. Here is Ephesians 5:15-17 and I believe the translator nailed this one on the head for us! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. (MSG)
What is it the Master wants? Well, He has great plans for you and they include who you are to marry, where you are to live, work, etc. But bigger than those is to capture His heart and live as He lived among us, to Walk As Jesus Walked – You don’t believe me? Look at verse 1 - Therefore be imitators of God…
Bless you as you seek to know the will of the Father for your life. He wants you to know it; He wants you to succeed in your race to the finish line… GO FOR IT!