“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15
The word circumspect means “to be cautious or careful.” Looking at the two parts of the word helps us understand its definition. The last part of the word, spect has to do with sight, as spectacles or inspect. The first part of the word, circum refers to a circle, as a circumference. Thus, the word implies closely looking around us, inspecting our surroundings, and exercising caution. To “walk circumspectly” is to walk in wisdom. We can all remember walking through areas where we thought we might be in some danger, and carefully looking all around us to see any signs of concern. The Bible warns us to “walk circumspectly,” being careful and alert. As God’s children, we are to be watchful and aware of the circumstances around us.
We need to be careful about temptations. The enemy is extremely effective in presenting temptations at those times when we are least prepared. We are warned in the Scripture that he walks about as a roaring lion seeking for those whom he may devour.
We need to exercise caution concerning our attitudes and behavior. If we are not careful, we can develop a bad spirit and not realize it. Attitudes such as pride, bitterness, or a critical spirit can hinder our spiritual progress. If we do not defeat them, they can defeat us.
We should also be diligent about our words. It is easy to become careless in the use of our words. If we are not watching, we can find ourselves using words that are hurtful or inconsistent with our profession as believers. We must be circumspect about our conduct, so that our actions are not questionable or offensive. We are to be careful about our associations, knowing that our friends can have either a positive effect or a negative effect on our spiritual lives and our testimony before others. We should be alert to the condition of others. Those we know and care for may be in spiritual danger; and if we are not observing in Christian love, we may not be aware of it.
It is easy in this busy life to become so preoccupied or distracted that we do not “walk circumspectly.” The Bible continues by saying, “not as fools, but as wise.” It is foolish to go through life without being aware of what is going on around us. When we cease to be alert, we are the most vulnerable to danger. As pilgrims surrounded by potential problems, we are to “walk circumspectly.”