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Carpenters give this good advice: measure twice, cut once. It's far better to make sure we're right, even if it takes extra time, than to hastily "cut" something and then see that we cut in the wrong place. Carefulness is important, whether we're a carpenter building a house or a Christian trying to live a godly life.
We might think it would be nice if we could make a few big decisions about following Christ and then put our lives on "autopilot" and never have to worry about our actions ever again. But that's not the way life goes. We have to make careful decisions every day. Godly lives don't develop unless we make careful decisions.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul spoke of the need for careful thinking and living. He said, "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" (Eph. 5:15-17 NKJV). The English word "circumspect" means "heedful of circumstances and potential consequences; prudent" (American Heritage Dictionary). To live circumspectly means that we live with deliberate caution and carefulness. We must do this, Paul says, because "the days are evil." Since we are surrounded by so many evil influences, we need to be all the more careful in the choices we make.
Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, is reported to have said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." He was right. If we just go with the flow, living haphazardly and not thinking about how we ought to live, the kind of life that results from that approach is not really worth living. As Christians, we have the benefit of God's truth to help us understand what the truly good life would be. But we have to pay attention and be careful. We have to examine our lives often and make the decisions that are required to get on the right path and stay there. We cannot afford to drift along, living by default. We must live our lives on purpose.
So let's give some thought to "careful" living. God deserves no less than the best we can give.
Monday: Ephesians 5:15-17
Key Idea: In the New Testament, we are exhorted to live "circumspectly" or "carefully."
Questions for Family Growth: What reason is given in this passage for our need to live carefully? What kind of life results from carelessness? In combating the devil, is there any kind of mental preparation that is necessary? See 1 Pt. 5:8,9.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:28.
Tuesday: Acts 17:16-34
Key Idea: We need to consider very carefully the claims of the gospel of Christ.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of city was ancient Athens? How much consideration was given there to Paul's preaching? In Ac. 17:11, how carefully did the Bereans consider the gospel when they heard it?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:1.
Wednesday: Revelation 2:1-7
Key Idea: When we choose a local congregation, we need to choose carefully.
Questions for Family Growth: What assessment did Christ give of the spiritual condition of the church in Ephesus? If a congregation had, in fact, had its "lampstand" (v.5) removed by Christ, would we want to worship there?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:2.
Thursday: 1 Peter 1:13-16
Key Idea: We need to carefully decide what manner of life we're going to lead.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to be "sober-minded" in our thinking? What are we to rest our hope "fully" upon? In vv.14-16, what kind of life are we to lead? Is this done accidentally or by conscious choice?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:3.
Friday: 2 Timothy 2:15
Key Idea: Serving God faithfully requires constant carefulness and diligence.
Questions for Family Growth: What has to take place in our lives if we are to be found workers who don't need to be ashamed? Do we ever get to the point where we no longer have to give much thought to our lives?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:4.