In our Christian life we are either going forward or backward. There is no stationary position we remain in like people who are asleep. So not only are we to “walk as children of light,” but we are to “walk circumspectly.” The word “circumspectly” comes from “circumference” as in a circle. The meaning then is that we are to be looking around us recognizing there is an effect to everything I do. My walk as a Christian is to be accurate and precise in accordance with the will of God revealed in His Word. I am not to leave things to chance, but carefully plan ahead and know the goals for which I am to reach. An attainable goal enables me to set a course in my life that includes my responsibilities and my commitments to which I am obligated. Then when unexpected events arise, I have already established guidelines by which I can make decisions that affect myself and others.
The value of time seems to be lost to many because they often say there is not enough time in a day to do what they want to accomplish. If that is the case then the goals are unrealistic, or one is doing things that are unnecessary. God does not load us up with things we are unable to accomplish. By taking advantage of every opportunity we are “redeeming the time.” That simply means make the best use of your time because the opportunities we have now may be taken away by the evil times in which we live. To buy up opportunities will mean there are some things I should not waste my time doing. Opportunity has in its meaning heading toward a port, a harbor at the end of the journey I am on. So the person who walks in wisdom takes time to think things through to the obvious conclusion. “If I do this, how will it affect that obligation I have? If I don’t do that, how will it affect those around me?”
When we use our mind by wisely bringing every thought in control “to the obedience of Christ,” we are able to know what the will of God is. Even more than that, we will be able to understand the reasons for these things. God does have a plan for us but He does not unfold the whole plan ahead of time. He expects us to take the step before us in faith and then the next step will be made plain to us. There are some things that go well together. Gratitude and grace blend well because when there is a grateful heart for that which has been revealed and done. Then there is grace given to the trusting heart to go forward. Thinking and thankfulness are also good twins. A thoughtful mind will not panic when a person is caught unawares by some event in life. Because we have experienced God with us previously and have expressed our thanks for His provision and blessing, we can wisely consider what is ahead in spite of the evil times in which we live. Far too many people become afraid and frustrated when things are not how they wanted them to be. So they turn to the wrong place, for the wrong reason and grasp the wrong thing. Careful conduct and foolish actions do not go together.
The excessive results of too much wine soon lead to abuse when it breaks the bonds our conscience places on us. Moral order is jeopardized when one goes to another spirit to deal with problems that catch us unawares. Warnings were given to the believers in Ephesus against impurity and how it affects God’s people. Now a warning is given against intemperance. The dangers that follow one who is out of control because of too much wine, are seen in public testimony, church life, family life and marriages. Wine has the potential, when too much is taken, of leading to lying in order to cover something we do not want others to know. It leads to a hard-hearted person who is unmoved by the needs of others because it centers interest on one’s self. Those we love the most are often hurt when wine is taken to excess and the bonds of conscience are broken. The tongue of a drunk person is often unloosed to the extent that not only are lies spoken, but all forms of evil speaking come, from railing to cursing. Being “drunk with wine” is uncontrolled excess that comes from hell. The filling of the Spirit is the calm, spiritual excess that comes from heaven and enables us to do God’s will.
The problem behind drinking wine in Bible times was not the same as it is today. It was the beverage that was available to them in the same way that fruit juice is to us, although we now have coffee and tea as the more popular drinks. The caution here is given against social drinking. That can lead people to say and do things they normally would never do because they are under the controlling power of “spirits.” That is why there are a lot of warnings against it in scripture. Reasons to avoid social drinking are that it leads to excess, it can quickly become habit forming, it can offend the conscience of another believer and has the very real possibility of hurting one’s testimony as a Christian. When there is doubt about a thing, do not do it. The filling of the Spirit and excessive drinking have some things in common. Both come from a power outside our own nature. Both affect our speech, and produce songs that come from another controlling power. The fervency from both goes beyond what is normal to us. One is the quiet effective fervency that leads one to serve God and other people with grace and wisdom. The other is loud and boisterous, and often aggressive. The fullness of the Spirit does not loose the bands of self-control but relates to those things that make for a good life and a godly home.
The singing of those who are filled with the Spirit is both internal from a grateful heart, and external as we use words to express in melody a joy that comes from God. This is not “worship music” but worship that is full of music to the Lord when the Spirit is in it. The joining of voices to praise the Lord is beautiful when voices blend by singing the same note at the same time. The same words if given as a chant are hardly able to be understood because of the variety of tones. That is one reason we sing together with the instrument God made us with – our voice. Thankfulness and holiness go together in God’s people. There is a loyalty to each other in love that is not a forced effort. An attitude of joy and thankfulness to God encourages God’s people.
That thankfulness to God for everything in the name of the Lord distinguished those who are filled with the Spirit. They are not whining or complaining, but are expressing appreciation for God’s presence in all the difficulties of life in spite of the pain that might go along with normal living. When we submit ourselves with thankfulness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to others, we will find it easier to show loyalty to each other. That will lead us to help them, love them and bless them in whatever way possible. To submit to each other out of reverence for Christ, means we will step back from our own rights to make sure our brothers ands sister have their rights met. This is what “walking circumspectly” is like.