In the journey ahead we need to be equipped to learn to walk and plan circumspectly because the days will become deceptively difficult to navigate. In our use here “circumspectly” implies a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid misjudgments and bad consequences or there very well will be a great price to pay.
Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Eph. 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph. 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
First the Natural then the Spiritual:
Before we explore the spiritual sense of the word circumspectly, I will share a true experience in the natural that had left a lasting impression:
One year while my wife and I were on vacation in a foreign country we decided to go see a show in town, which was a good walk from our hotel. We asked directions from the concierge and he advised us that, upon returning, there was one area of a few short blocks we should be aware of because it would be late at night and was only dimly lit. He instructed us to walk briskly on a certain side of the street and we would be fine. He did not say it, but I knew it meant we were to walk cautiously while in that area.
In those slightly younger days it was easy for us to walk briskly, and I must say, when we came to the area we did walk briskly and circumspectly. Wouldn’t you know, as we neared that area another couple somewhat younger appeared and crossed over to our side of the street. They were very boisterous, talking and laughing loudly, almost as if they were drunk. The male began yelling repeatedly the word hola, hola very loudly and repeatedly for almost a block as they passed in front of us and on into the dimly lit surroundings. It was very unnerving at the time being in a foreign country and left a lasting impression on what it meant to walk circumspectly, even though we can laugh about it today. Little did I know at the time, “hola” in Spanish means “hello” in English. Obviously they were only being outwardly cordial and perhaps a little high on something.
What Time is it?
The Scriptures are abundantly clear about warnings regarding the journey of God’s people as the “end of the age ” approaches. The question is: What Time is it for the Church?
Previous articles published on this Website and my recent book, “Journey to the Edge” will give the reader a good sensing in the Spirit where we are in the time clock of God’s dealings with this Nation and the Church. To put it in no uncertain terms: Change is coming and we must consider the hour in which we live soberly! The main purpose of these articles is to “Consider the Hour” and help pass the baton to others and prepare us for the race ahead.
Who will believe this report?
Many of the saints are not aware of our vulnerability in the approaching darkness, especially in regard to our mindset. Theory is one dimension, but mindset is another. When I went into the service, I was ready in theory for the change in life style, but my mindset was the first thing that was challenged and then the lack of my physical endurance during training. It started the moment our bus pulled up in boot camp when the First Sergeant jumped on the bus and started loudly barking orders. I see now, that the soldier’s heart and mindset had to be changed so that he would be ready to endure the psychological and physical body changes that would follow. All of us who are walking in the Spirit are somewhere in this dynamic spiritual process. The question for each of us is, “where are we now and are we ready?”
Shadows are Lengthening
When it is completely dark we are very aware we cannot see without extra light. Dusk and dawn require more vigilance than even at night because of the low light situations limiting our visibility because we think we can see adequately.
I believe from the past dreams, visions and impressions I have had that we are well into dusk when the shadows are going to lengthen more quickly. I hear the cry echoing from heaven, “Adam, where are you?” It is a rhetorical question to awaken and prod us to look around circumspectly. I term this walking circumspectly a many faceted process utilizing our Spiritual GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation for walking through an unfamiliar terrain. As soldiers this alertness should be part of our permanent mindset and equipping, especially as we realize we are at war and are going to walk through a minefield.
The connotation of the word “circumspectly” means “to look around 360 degrees” as we walk into the future and has many shades of strategic meaning in our application for our spiritual navigation. I have chosen Scriptures that are closely aligned with each of these defining words indicating how we are to maintain a state of readiness-
2Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.
Testing your Seaworthiness
Look at and embrace the questions below personally as a test after each of the Scriptures to see how seaworthy you are:
1. Cautiously: Prov. 4:14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.
Prov. 4:15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.
Do I take relational risks or visit unsound or questionable environments?
2. Vigilantly: 1Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Do you really believe you have a personal devil that is out to destroy you at every chance he gets or that you give him?
3. Watchfully: 1Th. 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch together and be sober.
Is your prayer serious or just a religious exercise? Do you watch with others in prayer to find out what is happening around you? Are you aware if it is God or Satan?
4. Suspiciously: 2Cor. 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Are you aware of true spiritual deliverance or is it just a myth to you?
5. Carefully: 1Th. 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
Are you in the word daily? Do you study it at all? Do you know what spiritual discernment means? Do you have it?
6. Shrewdly: Matt. 10:16 “ Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
Are you discerning of the ways of the world? Can you contend with them in a godly manner?
7. Guardedly: Luke 21:34 “ Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with *dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;
Are you so consumed with everyday life and pursuits that the Lord’s return is only smoke and mirrors to you? Are your inner thoughts, I will cross that bridge when I come to it?
8. Thoughtfully: 1 Th. 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us *watch and be sober
Are you soberly watching, clear minded and restrained spiritually or in a spiritual fog?
9. With Extreme Awareness: Luke 12:36 “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
Jesus has said He stands at the door and knocks. If we hear His voice, (This is all up to you.) open the door and let Him in (Rev. 3:20). The doorknob is only on our side of the door of our heart. Have you invited Him in? I mean to all the rooms of your heart. We need to give him the key ring with all the keys on it, not just the temporary valet parking key to our hearts.
Instructions for Clarity in Vision
For clarity in vision we must begin relying on getting our instructions more from the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints, as never before as we are near the end of this age:
1Cor. 10:11 – Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
We are at the helm in our life as the Lord’s vessel and we know that our faith can be shipwrecked (1 Tim.1:19), unless we are in denial. It took me the first 35 years of my life to realize that without the Lord Jesus and His guidance I would not be able to see to avoid the hidden reefs and shoals of life, which had already begun to take their toll.
Prov. 20:24 – A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand their own way?
I have used this picture in the “Author ” section of this Website because it portrays the way I see my life today:
My Close Call at the Helm
The following real life experience serves as a vivid illustration of how losing focus at a critical time can bring on near disaster:
One beautiful sunny day we were out fishing in the bay and I was in the back of the skiff running the outboard motor at top speed to go to another fishing spot. I was temporarily preoccupied for a minute or two fixing my tackle while my father and brother were in the front of the boat facing me, enjoying the ride. I happened to glance up for just a moment to see where I was heading. To my shock, I saw the boat was moving at top speed straight for the large eight-foot upright pole (thick as a telephone pole) that marked the channel. Swerving and barely yelling at the same time, “Hold on!” narrowly missing the pole, but almost losing one of our fishing rods caught by the pole as we went buy. It was such a close call my father didn’t even yell at me. That was more of a miracle to me at the time than missing the pole, if you get the drift - pun intended.
You can imagine yourself in your little boat on the sea of life and you know if too much water comes into the boat you will sink. You watch the sea conditions in life and seek to navigate to your destination or safe haven, depending on your situation. One situation, which is unnerving, is the “following sea”. In certain conditions: following seas, combined with high winds (especially from behind the boat), can be very dangerous and cause a boat to yaw (turn sideways) and swamp or plow under the wave ahead, if the winds and sea are too strong or violent.” (Wikipedia)
Our Enemy is Cunning
One of my sayings through life’s experience over the years has been, “If the enemy can’t stop you, he will get in back of you and push you too far or too fast.” He will do this even in things of righteousness, if it will end up in a disaster for you or others in God’s Kingdom. We are especially vulnerable here when our zeal for the things of God are at their highest, perhaps when we come into some new revelation or exciting move of God like with Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration. Contrary to my pragmatic nature, I have always leaned into reckless abandonment, rather than being overly cautious in my walk. It has been the assurance of His unfailing love and less by way of my wavering trust in Him that has brought me this far. I still probably hang on to the side of the boat, when I sense He is asking me to leave it, even by His grace.
In looking ahead, one of the most effective ways of staying alert in our spiritual life is to be involved consistently in watchful prayer with others in the body of Christ. I challenge you to look at reviewing your spiritual relationships to see if they contain the Biblical spiritual pattern: The Three, The Twelve and The One Hundred and twenty.
(The two or three, the small home meeting and the Church at large.)
It is very hard for us to “drift away” in these settings because we not only go to Church, but we become the fellowship of the saints. Taking this action now will be building up your seaworthiness.
Praying Together is Being Built Together
In the command of the Scriptures to pray always and to watch, I see three primary arenas or scenarios, which can provoke us to be watchful in prayer and keep us informed during our journey:
1. Keeping the Wheels On Prayer
2. Walking in the Light Prayer (Lamp unto our feet)
3. Prophetic Intercession (Light unto our Path)
1. Keeping the Wheels on Prayer consists mainly for our well being and safety on our day-to-day journey together:
- Leadership, protection, wisdom, direction
- Present daily struggles that are keeping us from moving
forward in God’s Kingdom:
- As a Church, as a body, in our relationships
- As individuals, at home, job, sickness, etc.
(Many times with a sense of urgency of a present need)
2. Walking in the Light Prayer (Lamp unto our feet): The rhema word received from the pulpit/daily devotionals, indicating what God is saying in the moment to us: Praying the word back to Him that was given as a fresh rhema for a lamp unto our feet.
Psa. 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
3. Prophetic Intercession (Light unto our Path) considering the hour that we are living in:
- I see this more as needing prophetic input from the body of Christ, especially from (but not limited to) apostles and prophets. “Watch Therefore” being the key.
Stormy Seas Ahead
Walking in spiritual ignorance is walking in darkness no matter how many earthly diplomas we hold. My heart’s burden is for the multitudes in the Church that may be vulnerable to become spiritual casualties in the stormy seas ahead.
Hope in the Lord floats. Faith in Him will point the way. Love will endure all things, if we do not grow weary.
“Set your mind on things above and gather strength to receive heavenly passion for we will need it to receive the harvest ahead.”
“All hands on deck! You are going to sea!” is the cry of the Holy Spirit in this hour.