“See then that ye walk circumspectly.” (Ephesians 5:15) To walk circumspectly is to walk cautiously; to look where one is stepping; to be vigilant, watchful, diligent, attentive. Be our pathway ever so light, if we do not look where we are stepping, we may stumble. Conybeare and Howson render the above text in these words: “See then that ye walk without stumbling.” We are not to walk as foolish people but as wise. We would say that the man acts foolishly who does not look at all in the way he is walking. Those who are wise in business walk carefully and look where they are going; they take advantage of every opportunity to make their business a success. In our Christian walk we are to seize upon every opportunity to make progress. There is no time in this short life for ease. Carelessness and indolence are dangerous and destructive to spirituality. An indolent man will never accomplish much for God nor be of any great benefit to his fellow men. But, oh, how easy to become careless!
Many begin the Christian walk in carefulness and diligence, but soon give place to carelessness and neglect. How prone people are to lose interest in anything when the new has worn away! They take great interest in the new preacher, but they will become familiar with him and so accustomed to him that they will lose interest. They have never heard anyone preach so well as the new preacher, and what he says has such weight and authority; but behold, after the new has worn away, he cannot preach any better than any other. They have no more regard for his words than they have for the words of others. There is an old adage which says, “A new broom sweeps clean.” The boy is eager to cut wood with the new ax. A child will carefully write like the copy for the first few lines; but the farther down the page, the greater the carelessness. The young lady takes great interest in the music lessons at first; she wants to practice all the time; but it soon gets old, and then it is hard to keep up an interest. The husband is very loving, kind, and attentive to his wife for awhile; but alas! in a little while she becomes old to him, and then he lets her shift for herself. This need not and should not be; but it seems to be the nature of man.
In the Christian life there is a strong tendency to let things run down. Some persons hear a sermon and they are awakened, but they are soon lulled to sleep again. Perhaps the example of someone has shown them that they do not pray enough, and they resolve to pray more, but they soon drift into the same careless way. Maybe they see that they do not read enough and improve themselves, and they are greatly stirred to do better, but alas! how soon they allow that resolution to weaken and become as negligent as ever. Nothing but the greatest diligence and unyielding determination will save us from getting weary in well-doing. Keep up a strong faith. Hold your mansion in the skies well in view and let nothing hinder you in your journey home.
There are professed Christians who, I am sorry to say, never take a good look at their mansion in heaven, and it is to be feared that many who are really God’s children do not view their home above as often and distinctly as they should. They see more of temporal things than of eternal things. It is by faith that we see eternal things, but if we have too keen a vision for temporal things, it dims our spiritual vision. If you knew you had a fine home in an adjoining state, and you had never seen it, you would want someone who had seen it to give you a description of it. Perhaps you would want a photograph of it. You would take a look at the picture often, and would learn all about it you could, and would think of the time when you could go and live there. Now, Jesus tells you that He has prepared a mansion for you in heaven. He does not tell you much about it, but you know full well that a mansion that Jesus prepares is perfect and complete. Why not think much about this mansion? Why not view it often by faith? Why not learn all about it you can? Getting too much engaged with the things of this life is the reason why. To walk circumspectly is to see that every step bears us heavenward, to have our faces set toward God, to have our eternal home in view, and to be journeying that way. We are not to be sauntering along, but to be industriously living for God and heaven.
How often have you decided that you would be more prayerful, would read more, would love God more, and the souls of men, would do more for the cause of God! How often you have decided to walk more worthily of God, to be more patient, to live a higher life, to be slower to speak, to cultivate a spirit of love and kindness, to be more like Jesus! You started out well and with great diligence, but alas! ere long you became weary in well-doing; you became less vigilant; you did not walk so carefully and were less attentive to your way. One day a circumstance occurred that caused a brother to see that he was not as attentive to others as he should be and let many opportunities of helping others in little things go by unimproved. He decided that he would be more watchful and thus be more helpful; but, as he said, he soon became as negligent as ever. Time after time he resolved and as often became negligent. Do not be discouraged. A little more determination, a little more faith in God for help, and you will triumph.