Our devotion today is based on St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians Chapter 5 beginning with verse 15.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Years ago when I was a pastor in the Twin Cities a young member of my congregation, probably in her mid-twenties, came to talk to me about taking adult instruction, even though she’d already been confirmed in our church. And I said “sure, you can go through adult instruction or confirmation, why would you want to take it again?” And she said “Well a couple of years ago when I was in college, I had a professor who was very nice, but I didn’t realize it until I got done with school that he had pretty much talked me out of my faith. So that I no longer believed in the Bible or in Christ as my Savior.”
St. Paul is addressing the fact that we live in a world that is hostile to the Christian faith and there are real forces out there that try to destroy our faith in Christ. Once we’ve come to trust in Him as our Savior and know what it means to have our sins fully forgiven by him, knowing that we have heaven waiting for us, that precious gift of faith is something that puts a target on us when it comes to the devil and the world. Listen to what an author from the eighteen hundred said.
As soon as a person sides with the Lord Jesus Christ he breaks his peace with the world and Satan, and they arm themselves to conquer and reclaim the soul that has escaped from them.
So Paul describes this as a lifelong battle the Christian faces. We struggle not only with the devil, but also with the unbelief in the world, and even with our own sinful human nature. A number of years ago up along the river that divides Minnesota and Wisconsin, a woman had bought a house and she didn’t find out until after she’d been in there a few months that it was full of snakes. She counts as many as 95 snakes that she had found in her basement and finally had to have exterminators come in. They found that they were coming up through the foundation in little holes the size of a pencil sometimes.
Think about that as a picture of how the devil and the world tried to find any way that they can to get at us and our faith. Any little crack in the foundation of our lives. And this threat is very real. But what makes it so really dangerous is the fact that our enemies are invisible. That’s why St. Paul says walk circumspectly. Some translations say walk wisely. Circumspectly means that you’re watching around, the word circle is in that, and then spectator, to look. That we’re looking around all the time at the things that could harm our faith. He says walk around carefully. It’s the same word that the Greeks used for acrobat.
God doesn’t want us to lose our confidence in the Word that he has given us about our Savior. Paul says that we should make the most of every opportunity to strengthen our faith. Hearing God’s Word and being with fellow Christians. One of the great dangers of this Covid outbreak is the potential for us as Christians to get separated from each other and to no longer allow ourselves to stay united and stay focused in our faith. Some pastors have expressed concerns of people kind of ghosting themselves and fading away from the church.
St. Paul reminds us in the versus following this
Be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:18-19)
So God wants us to come back to that Word because of what we possess there. Think of what we have because of what our Lord has done. What a great blessing. God doesn’t want us to lose that for anything. Let’s have a prayer as we close.
Our gracious heavenly Father, we thank you for making us your dear children through faith in Christ. We pray that you would strengthen us in that faith and help us to fight the good fight of faith that someday we may stand in your presence forever more. We ask and in our Lord’s saving name. Amen.