Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011 … Watch Your Step

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 5: 15 [note terms in bold] – [NIV] … 15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, …

Ephesians 5: 15 [note terms in bold] – [NASB] … 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, …

My Journal for Today: John MacArthur, in his Strength for Today devotional on this date, returns to Ephesians 5: 15 to emphasize the exhortation to Christians to “walk carefully” in Christ. I’ve added the NASB version of today’s key verse above because it uses the translated term “walk,” which is another translation from the Greek, rather than “live,” as in the NIV. I like the term “walk” paired with “be very careful” because, as MacArthur alludes in his devotional, they can create the word picture of a soldier being so very careful as he clears a minefield.

I’ll return to this mental image; but focusing on the Greek, term “akribos,” which has been accurately rendered in the NIV for Eph. 5: 15, “to be very careful;” and it’s a term which means to be hyper-vigilant to what is going on around us in the world. The second key term in today’s verse is “paripateo” in the Greek; and it refers to our ”daily living or walk,” especially those habits or disciplines which comprise our habitual walk in the world. Using these terms together, Paul was saying to the Ephesians, and to us [paraphrased], “As you walk everyday in this world, walk with extreme care and vigilance!”

And that’s why the mine-clearing soldier image is so apropos in this exhortation. Wouldn’t you agree that life, as we know it, truly is a minefield? And I’ve often asked this question of other Christians, “If you had to walk through a minefield, would you rather be first; or would you rather follow someone who knows exactly where every mine is placed?” The answer is a no-brainer, of course. And applied to Eph. 5: 15, Paul is saying that the wise Christian will do all he can to seek the perfect minefield walker; and that, my dear readers, is Jesus; and then we follow Him.

Christ commanded His disciples (in Matt. 16: 24, Mark 8: 34; and one which I probably quote more than any other in ministry, Luke 9: 23) to follow Him ever so closely by denying ourselves. Proverbs 3: 5 commands the believer to trust God’s way completely and not try to walk in life using our own ideas; and Prov. 3: 6 promises that if we do that, God will lead us carefully down His pathway of life. And God’s pathway, even if it’s fraught with “mines,” is always the safest path to follow. Hence, our need to be vigilant and disciplined in following our Lord rather than our own feelings and flesh-driven ideas.

To the world, a “careful walk” might mean using our head knowledge, gleaned from worldly education, science, or even from man-made religion, to avoid the dangerous circumstances of life. It might encourage the worldly warrior to take on the minefield alone by using modern technology or to follow religious positive thinking gurus to point out the mines of life; but the truth of such strategies would place us at the mercy of others who are simply trying to show us the way by man-created technologies or thought processes. When we follow the way of Prov. 3: 5 – 6 and/or Luke 9: 23, merely trusting and following Christ, we may not always avoid the dangers of life’s minefields; but we’ll always know that God will bring us through the minefields of life the right way! And I don’t know about you; but I’d much rather follow Jesus through life than risk doing it on my own.

My Prayer Today: Lead me, Lord, and I will walk where You walk. Amen

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