Walk Circumspectly

Listen | Watch | Ephesians 5:15-21

Some of the walkers in our church have said, “There are too many sermons on running, and not enough sermons on walking.” So, today’s sermon is on walking–the Christian’s walk.

I love the KJV word “circumspectly.” I love it because of a message that Regina and I heard some years ago given on a Wednesday night by Pat Elliott. Pat is now pastor of the Spring Meadows Baptist church in Huntington, WV; however, at the time of his message, he was on staff at the Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Ashland, KY. In his message, Pat was very dramatic in illustrating the meaning of the word “circumspectly.” The word has to do with paying careful attention to the way we as believers walk. As a figurative word, “walk” has to do with our spiritual journey and with our daily relationship with The Lord.

This past Wednesday night The Lord allowed me to learn what it means to walk circumspectly. I accidentally let a snake into our house. We believe it crawled right under my feet without me realizing it. I promise you I will pay careful attention to my walk in the days ahead. I will walk much more circumspectly in the future as I leave the house.

Circumspectly could also be translated “watch your step.” It describes the actions of an army scout behind enemy lines as he looks closely at everything in the vicinity. A good example of walking circumspectly would be a soldier “watching his step” to avoid landmines. The believer, in a sense, is one behind enemy lines. The believer must look closely in all directions . Why? The answer is, our enemy is so crafty, so clever, he can attack from almost any direction.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

Warren Wiersbe defines our word circumspectly as, “walking carefully with exactness. ” The opposite would be to walk carelessly with no forethought.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Do not be “unwise people,” but be “wise.” The idea is to live in such a way that it pleases The Lord. The question is…do you do that? Do you live your Christian life in such a way that it pleases God? As Christians, we often grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, and we are not even aware of it. The Preaching Outline And Sermon Bible defines an unwise Christian as, “The person who is unthinking, thoughtless, careless, uncaring, and worldly minded.” They get up of the mornings and go off to work or school with little to no thought concerning the things of God. Their lives are not disciplined, so they become vulnerable to the pitfalls of the enemy. The Spirit guided life is not on their radar. They become a thoughtless believer. A thoughtless believer listens to off-colored stories, dirty jokes, racial epithets, take The Lord’s name in vain. A thoughtless believer does not guard their tongue and gossip can be a big issue.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Edifying means to “build up.” Instead of building up, a thoughtless believer often is found tearing down. A thoughtless believer can be neglectful. Sometimes it is neglect of self. They forget that we are to be Ambassadors for Christ. They can also neglect others. Their daily lives could be described as being lived out selfishly. It is all about me.

If it is in the heart, it should come out of the mouth! Johnny Hunt

But the wise believer! The wise believer is concerned about every step they take in their Christian life. There is an old saying, “Never ask a Texan if he is a Texan. If he is a Texan, he will let you know without asking. If he’s not a Texan, you would not want to embarrass him!” My friend, a Christian ought to walk (live) in such a way that you know that they are a child of God without asking. To ask them if they are a Christian would embarrass them.

Allow me to add to Johnny Hunt’s quote, “if it is in the heart it ought to be lived out in the life! (The walk of a Christian). The Christian needs to walk wisely.

Notice that Paul says, “redeeming the time.HCSB translates, “Making the most of the time.

Why? Mainly because we do not kill time, time kills us. We know this to be true, and we know “the days are evil.” So many are living in spiritual darkness. So many need to be led into God’s glorious light of the Gospel of Christ–we dare not waist time. There is a precious man in this church that understands this fact. He said to me recently, “we’re not getting any younger, if we are going to do something for The Lord we better do it now—because, we are running out of time.”

The average American lifetime:

  • 5 months tying shoes
  • 6 months sitting at stop lights
  • 8 months opening mail
  • 1 year looking for misplaced objects
  • 2 years unsuccessfully returning phone calls
  • 4 years doing house work
  • 5 years waiting in line
  • 6 years eating
  • 14 years working
  • 24 years sleeping

Add all of that up and it equals 58 years! Church…if any of us is ever going to do anything big for Jesus, we had better get busy because we don’t have much time! And if there was ever time we needed to behave as Christians–now is that time!

Ephesians 5:17-21

A wise Christian understands what the will of The Lord is negatively…do not be drunk on wine, beer, whiskey or drugs. The command is to obtain from these things. Why? Because a life filled with intoxicants is a life lived completely and totally out of control.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Listen to some of the things that We have found associated with strong drink: violence, physical abuse, immorality, immodest clothing, loose behavior, wickedness. I am sure you heard about the teenage girl that hung herself recently. She was at a party and became intoxicated. Some boys at the party took advantage of her while she was drunk. They raped her. To make matters worse, they took photos and proudly posted them on social media. The embarrassment was so great she could not stand it, and she ended up taking her own life. A wise Christian understands what the will of The Lord is negatively…do not be drunk.

A wise Christian understands what the will of The Lord is positively…to be filled with the Spirit of God! A common misconception is that some Christians may be filled with more or less of the Holy Spirit than other believers. If you do not have the in-dwelling presence of God’s Spirit, it means that you are not a Christian (Romans 8:9). The question is not how much of the Spirit does the believer have, but how much of the believer does the Holy Spirit have? I love the story of D.L. Moody and a Chicago Crusade. 16 men planned the crusade, all but one wanted Moody. This one man was holding out for a friend. He said to the other 15 men, “you fellows act as if Moody has a lock on the Holy Spirit!” The men responded by stating, “We do not believe Moody has a lock on the Holy Spirit, we believe the Holy Spirit has a lock on Moody—We want Moody for our Crusade.”

What does “be filled with the Spirit” mean?

  • First, it means to be consciously filled.
    • It’s a command you ought to know. How will I know? There is a two fold test. Test number 1 is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Test number 2 is the function of the Spirit (John 15:26). When you are filled with God the Holy Spirit, it means His life is being lived out through you, and you are witnessing to others about Jesus.
  • Second, you should be conspicuously filled.
    • It ought to be obvious to others. How? Answer; by the way you ‘walk’. (Acts 6:3)  Do not select men because of their worldly position. Do not select men on the basis of how long they have been a member. Do not select men just because they do a good job out there. Instead select men who have an honest report, full of the Holy Ghost.
  • Third, you should be continuously filled.
    • Henry Morris says, “the connotation of filled is being filled.” Baptism of the Spirit is a once-for-all experience. It takes place at the time of the new birth. When you are saved, you are baptized into the body of Christ spiritually. Whereas being filled means to be continuously filled. We are to seek His filling each day of our life. We should never allow alcohol to control our thoughts and actions. We should always look to the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions. He is the one who guides us to walk “circumspectly.”

What are the traits of a spirit filled Christian?

  • A spirit filled Christian has a singing spirit (v. 19). Psalms are the inspired hymns by David, Asaph and others. Hymns are the non-inspired songs we use to worship The Lord. Singing speaks of the joy filled Christian life (Acts 13:52).
  • A Spirit filled Christian has a thankful spirit (v. 20). Notice, “Give thanks always for all things.” Anyone can be thankful for sunshine, but it takes a Spirit-filled believer to be thankful for the storms.
  • A Spirit filled Christian has a submissive spirit (v. 21). They are not disrespectful of other believers. They are not critical. They are not divisive. They are not envious. They are not selfish. They have learned to put others first.

The greatest need of the hour is for believers to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit!


Are you filled with God’s Holy Spirit? In a day when the Church of the living God desperately needs revival, are you filled? In a day when we desperately need to see our loved ones come to know Christ, are you filled? In a day when we desperately need to sense the manifest presence of Almighty God, are you filled?

We have the capacity for spiritual life and power which is beyond our imagination if we would but yield.

  • First: Please remember it is a command. It is not a suggestion. We are not free to ignore it.
  • Second: Please remember it is a plural command which means the command is for the whole church. It is not just a command for the church staff along with the deacons.
  • Third: It is a passive command which means it is something we allow God to do. There is no ritual, no formula. We simply turn from known sin, and we yield to the Spirit of God that in-dwells us. We yield and He fills.
  • Fourth: It is a present tense command, we are to go on being filled. We often say, “so filled, if a Pikeville mosquito would bite us on the nap of the neck, he would fly away singing, “There’s Power in the Blood.”

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