Humans are creatures of contrasts. We like to compare, and contrast virtually every, and all things. Though believers are told,
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves amongst themselves, are not wise.” (2Cor 10:12).
We still do it anyway. The problem with us comparing ourselves with others is that our standards are not consistent. We are always partial or biased towards ourselves, especially when the qualities are considered to be negative.
Hence, many like to be described with qualities considered good or positive like clever, beautiful, nice and the like. They ascribed to themselves, animal names like lion, tiger, eagle but would not want to be described as chicken, serpent or pig because of the perceived qualities or lack of it of those animals. None would want to be referred to as ugly, horrible or ill-mannered even if they are.
Some of the serious consequences of this unrealistic comparison include:
- Unhealthy rivalry that come from inordinate ambition;
- Pride that often lead to ill-treatment of others;
- Selfishness and covetousness
- Or others may become complacent and will therefore not make effort to improve.
So, today we want to tap ourselves on the shoulder as if to say, “wake up and check yourself.
Remember, we are to regularly examine ourselves to see if we are still in the faith, and with the aim of improving and growing (2Cor 13:5).
So, let us examine a very important biblical contrast to see which side we are on so we can then make necessary modifications.
- This is a serious appeal to us all to, “Please, ensure you are not a fool.”
Put another way, “Please, ensure you are not playing the fool”
The word of God commands the believers in Christ to,
“15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16).
To start with, many of the errors of the ungodly had been detailed (Eph. 5:3-5). After believers have been told of these errors, they are then informed that such ones will not inherit, that is, will not partake of the kingdom of Christ and of God (v.6).
They are then reminded that they are not to be partakers with the ungodly, though, they once as unbelievers had lived such ungodly lifestyle but are now delivered by Christ (vv.7-8).
But the possibility of regression to that ungodly behaviour is ever present. Hence, the warning is further reinforced by contrasting the live of the ungodly with that of the godly using the fool and the wise as illustration. The fool and the wise are here defined in relationship with God.
And so believers in Christ are commanded to:
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
In view of what has been said above about the lifestyle of the ungodly and its consequence, the believers are to then see to it to be careful or take care and watch diligently.
Walk here represents the behaviour or lifestyle of the believers. Their day-to-day conduct and character. Everything concerning how they conduct their life. The believer is to walk circumspectly meaning implying with care and adequateness. The believer in Christ is to strictly conform to a norm or standard in both detail and completeness.
The Christian journey is like walking on a cliff edge
The believers in Christ are to behave like someone who necessarily must walk to safety through a cliff edge. On such a journey a misstep and a fall will lead to serious injuries or even death.
In such a situation, he will take every precaution to avoid any distractions. He will therefore be focused, taking as much care as possible to not make a mistake of allowing a slipup that could have catastrophic consequences.
A person in such a serious situation and who recognizes the dangers, will not likely require more talk or encouragement before using all he is capable of to avoid distractions and to make sure he successful walks through that dangerous cliff edge. This is how the believer’s journey of faith through life is expected to be like, he ensuring he avoids being side-tracked his flesh, the world and the kingdom of darkness all working together to derail his relationship with the Lord.
It is a reminder of what the Lord Himself said:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” (Mat 7:13).
And He further warned:
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24).
Put another way, the walk of the believer on the journey of faith is not a walk in the park. It is not a walk on a plain field where one could walk leisurely, stepping anyhow, stopping every-now-and-then to admire this or that scenery.
Rather, it is a walk on narrow road with many hair-pin turns, and numerous enticing but dangerous things clamouring for the believer’s attention. But enticing and desirable as such things may be, he must make every effort to refuse being enticed and ensnared.
As if to make the importance of these explicit and unmistakable, we are given the contrast between the fools and the wise.
But others before us ran the race before them, resisted all enticement and completed their journey successfully. It is still the same God with the same standard. The same help available to those old believers in God are available believers in Christ today.
Hence, we are told concerning:
Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season. Because he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt for, he had respect unto the recompence of the reward (Heb. 11:23-26);
The Lord Jesus Christ:
We are to look,
“unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2);
The NT records a lot of the afflictions and deprivations he went through because of his faith in Christ. His testimony towards the end of his days,
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2Tim 4:7).
But Believers in Christ are to walk not as fools.
But who is a fool?
The secular fool
In the secular society a fool is someone lacking in the powers of understanding or to use modern-day terminology, one mentally challenged. This is very different from the fool described on the pages of Holy Scripture.
The fool according to Holy Scripture
The fool described on the pages of Holy Scripture are often intellectually sound, and may accomplish much in the academic, business, science, politics and other areas of human endeavour. But in spite of what man may consider to be lofty achievements, they amount to nothing if God is not in their heart.
Hence, according to the Holy Scripture, the fool is the one who denies the existence of God (Ps 14:1; 53:1).
Some of the character traits of the fool include:
- He “hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Ps 14:1; 53:1).
- He utters slander(Pr. 10:18).
- His way is right in his own eyes(Pr. 12:15).
- It is abomination for him to turn away from evil (Pr. 13:19).
- He makes a mock at sin(Pr. 14:9).
- While the wise fears and departs from evil, the fool rages on and is confident (Pr. 14:16).
- He despises his father’s instructions (Pr. 15:5).
- He despises his mother(Pr. 15:20).
- He trusts in his own heart (Pr. 28:26).
- The fool walks in darkness(Eccl. 2:15).
- He hears the words of Jesus, but does not do them, and is thus like one building on sand (Mat 7:26-27).
- He lays up treasure for himself on earth while he is not rich towards God (Luke 12:20-21).
- He changes“the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man” (Rom 1:22-23).
The believers are therefore not to walk as fools. Rather, they are to walk as wise.
The wise according to Holy Scripture
According to Holy Scripture, the wise is one who believes in and obeys God. Hence, we are informed,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Pro. 9:10).
Believers are not to major or be experts in the negative only. But should major or be an expert in the positives as well. It is not enough to not be a fool, but in addition, to be wise.
Some character traits of the wise
- He is a child of God through the finished work of Christ, having been born of water and of the spirit (John 3:3, 5).
- If you are not yet born-again you are a none starter.
- This is because God is the one that gives wisdom to the wise (Pr. 2:6; Dan 2:21), and you have no relationship with Him yet
- The wise hearkens unto counsel (Pr. 12:15).
- He fears and departs from evil (Pr. 14:16).
- The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly(Pr. 15:2).
- The lips of the wise disperse knowledge (Pr. 15:7).
- He hears the reproof of life(Pr. 15:31).
- His heart teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips (Pr. 16:23).
- The ear of the wise seeks knowledge(Pr. 18:15).
- He receives knowledge when he is instructed (Pr. 21:11).
- The wise is the one who understands what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17).
Not only are believers commanded to walk circumspectly, they are to be:
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
For the believer in Christ, redeeming the time is making the most use of the time or making use of every opportunity. He walks in wisdom towards those outside the faith (Col 4:5), as he engages in good works with zeal (Tit 2:14). This is how the light of the believer in Christ will shine before men and they will glorify his father in heaven (Mat 5:16).
The reason the believers are to walk circumspectly is that the days are evil. Virtually anywhere you look there is one form of evil or another. Believers thus have to contend for the faith.
They are in the world but are not of the world, and the world loves her own people and things, but hates believers because they belong to God and love God instead of the world (cf. John 15:19; 17:14, 16).
Thus, the world and the devil will make every effort to co-opt the flesh and other aspects of the believer as allies in their war against the believer.
The believer has to therefore make the most of his time, to concentrating only on himself, but taking every opportunity to help others to overcome in resisting the devil and growing in their faith.
However, it is important to recognise that though believers are not to live in fear, they are to be aware of the dangers that surround them, and the different elements that are trying to pull them down.
This is a serious matter
Please, hear the command to believers in Christ again:
“15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16).
Believers in Christ are not to play the fool like Saul, the first king of Israel did.
“Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.” (1Sam 26:21).
To live circumspectly is to live their lives within the light of their position as children of God. They are to walk carefully and precisely following their Lord.
And to walk as fools is to descend or regress from this high level of fellowship and partaking in the divine nature with the Lord down to the life of the ungodly.
The believers are to walk i.e. live carefully, being wise or skilful, and thus please their Lord.
But do you belong to Christ or you are still outside without Christ?
The above speaks to true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope it is reasonable for me to make the assumption that you reading this piece is a believer in and a follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
That assumption is very massive in its potential consequences whether true or false.
If true, that is, you are born again, then we are told that you have been delivered from the powers of darkness and being translated into the kingdom of the Son of God (Col 1:12-13). And so, you have access to all that God promises to his people.
But if it is false, that is, if the Lord Jesus Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord, the consequences are very dire indeed. Howbeit, all is not lost for that can change now.
So, you should act fast and NOW: Repent, that is, change your mind about what you think of God, Christ, sin and the purpose in life.
Wondering, “how do I become born again?”
The Holy Scriptures say that:
1. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that in God’s opinion, we fall short of His standard.
2. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in Hell.
3. “But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Even in our sin, God continued to show us His love and demonstrated this love by sending his Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. He thus gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16).
4. There is only One step that must be taken:
1. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
All that appropriate the sacrifice of Christ are acceptable to Him. For He Himself extended the invitation to all:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30).
Why don’t you confess the Lord Jesus Christ NOW?
Please, do not reject that invitation as you do not know when you will be called by God to give account of your life!!!
I pray that you will take the necessary step towards the Lord and God will accept you in Jesus’ Name, Amen.