PAY ATTENTION

LifeLink Devotions (Click here for Apple Podcast)

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

When I was a freshman in college, I joined an outreach team. We went to various churches and performed musical concerts. Occasionally, when we were visiting a church on a Sunday morning, the pastor would request that we bring some form of message. That was my role in addition to singing. I distinctly remember the first sermon I preached as a part of that group. It was in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the home church of one of our team members. I spoke from Ephesians 5:15-16 and based on the King James Version of the Bible I entitled the sermon “Walking Circumspectly.” I still have that sermon typed out and in my files.

The full verse in the KJV says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” I like that word circumspectly. It means “to be diligent, accurate, precise, and aware of everything going on around you to the farthest extent of your experience.” It describes a life lived wisely. In the context of this letter that Paul is writing, it means several things:

  1. to be alert to every possible trap of the enemy that would hinder our spiritual intimacy with Christ
  2. to be diligent in our pursuit of faithful obedience to Christ
  3. to be accurate in the assessment of our personal lives so that they are free from sin
  4. to be aware of every opportunity that presents itself to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

When I consider what it means to walk circumspectly, I think about it in relationship to deer hunting. That’s a stretch for some of you, I’m sure, but bear with me (excuse the mixed metaphor). One of the things I like to do when deer hunting with a bow is called still hunting. That’s the process of quietly stalking the deer on the ground rather than sitting in a stand and waiting for the deer to come to me. Both methods require me to be circumspect, but still hunting requires more alertness to every detail around me and more camouflage to keep me from alerting the deer to my presence. When I still hunt, I use binoculars, so that I can be aware of everything happening to the farthest extent of my experience. The deer can see and hear me from a greater distance than I can see or hear them, so I use every advantage I can. I concentrate every sense I have on the task of sneaking through the woods quietly and alertly so that I will be aware of every opportunity to tag a deer. While still hunting last year I snuck up to within 12 yards of a tom turkey before he was aware of my presence. The first deer I ever shot in my life was shot from a distance of 15 yards with the deer standing directly in front of me staring at me, not sure of what he was seeing.

Walking circumspectly in this world requires the same kind of alertness and diligence. Every spiritual sense we have must be tuned to the environment around us. We must be alert to every trap of the enemy. We must be diligent to make every choice we are provided with in faithful obedience to Jesus Christ. We must be accurate in assessing our personal lives so that we can remain untouched by the sin around us. We must be aware of every opportunity to be a witness for Jesus Christ as we walk through this life.

Witnessing about Jesus can be done in a multitude of ways. I meet so many people who are discouraged because they don’t feel they witness correctly, or at all. Yet when I see their lives and watch their interactions with people, their whole life is a witness to the love of Jesus. The gift of love we give someone today may not have had any gospel reference in it, but it was the living example of the gospel, and the Holy Spirit can use that to draw them to Himself. By faith we must trust that the Holy Spirit will use whatever input we give at any time in a cumulative way to bring that person to their point of decision. Let me illustrate.

I was at the store picking up some landscaping supplies for a home project. As I stood in line, a young man came up behind me carrying only a bottle of Mountain Dew. I asked him if he wanted to go ahead of me. He said no, and his reason was that he was too tired to do anything other than just stand and wait his turn. I asked him why he was so tired. He told me he’s a new dad and they have their first baby at home. I extended my hand to congratulate him, and he shook it. As we talked, he told me he was taking his turns getting up at night and it was wearing him out. I told him how proud I was of him and that he was going to be a great dad. Never once did I tell him who I was or use any reference to Jesus Christ. I simply spoke words of encouragement to him. Then when I paid for my stuff, I told the cashier to add his soda to my bill. At first, he refused, but I insisted. It was such a small thing, but it touched him deeply, and he said he didn’t know how to thank me. It was obvious that he had not seen love like that before. I pray that God will use that one simple event to draw him to salvation as others influence his life at other times. I thanked God that He had made me sensitive to an opportunity, and that I had made the most of it.

Live wisely and make the most of every opportunity!

Pastor John