Wise or Foolish in 2022?
Dear BPCWA worshipper, A New Year has dawned, and I truly thank God that we had an opportunity to close off the year in God’s House with a Watchnight Service and the Lord’s Supper. In these days and times, we cannot take coming to church for granted and it is something that we should give thanks for each time. We ended off the year with a sermon on “Wise or Foolish?”, taken from Eph 5:14-17 “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is”. Have we been wise or foolish over 2021? How can we be wise for sure in 2022? The verse tells us that walking circumspectly is being wise.
What is walking circumspectly? Circumspect means having a boundary around (circum) and inspecting (spect) our walk. It is a picture of someone who is constantly surveying his circumstances because he intends to order his life by certain principles that he will not cross out of. So in every choice, every action, and every direction of life, he is mindful and disciplined. He does not just “go with the flow” but weighs the consequences before acting and deciding. The wise person will apply knowledge and inspect himself to keep within the circle bounded by God’s Word. A picture would be like someone who stays within a hula hoop in every situation in life, never overstepping the boundary in thoughts, words, or actions. What scribes the boundary? What do you do in the boundary? How do I know what direction to move the circle towards? We can consider how we have spent yet another year of our short lives to see if it has been wisely used, using the acronym “CAP”, just like a boundary that caps his walk in life.
Carefully. What scribes the boundary?The Word of God defines the boundary of my walk. I live by the principles within it. And it controls everything I do within that circle. So I walk carefully, specifically careful in redeeming the time! Time is about opportunities. A wise person is careful to watch what he uses his time with. “Redeem” means he knows that for everything that he chooses to use his time for, there is an exchange, an opportunity cost. I give up something to gain something else. We all have limited opportunities within a certain time. Each day, we have opportunities to grow spiritually and use it to serve God. Conversely, we also have daily opportunities to please the flesh and serve self ambition. Which would you give up to redeem the other? Time spent on the flesh is time flittered and wasted. Time is a precious commodity that once past will never come back. There is a saying that time and tide waits for no man. If we have spent our 2021 procrastinating and on mindless things, we must now start to be careful to deal with our sins and look at our failures. Start to redeem your time well in the year ahead, because “the days are evil”. The world is seeking to change and mould us to conform to it. If we go through each day mindlessly, ie instead of carefully abiding by God’s Word, the world will change us. Even what we think of as “harmless” time wasters are seeking to change us – be it that snippet of music, video, caption, or TV program. Christian, be conscious of every moment each day to make a choice of how and what you spend your time on. We are careful with our resources, our money – but sadly, we don’t give much thought to our time and life, which is so much more valuable and cannot be re-purchased with material things. To help you spend your time wisely, write a list of what you will do and choose to spend your time on things that will aid your spiritual growth. 2021 is past and will never return, and that is another year of life lost. With your remaining time, choose wisely how you want to spend it. It may mean that some things will have to be sacrificed to pursue the wisest choice. Just like a student with limited time remaining for an exam will choose to use that time wisely based on the question with the most marks, that is how we should view life’s trade-offs. Choose the things that are most excellent in spiritual value. Our life and time on earth is so brief and only but a small segment in view of eternity. You will be most foolish if you don’t use that time well. Use every moment to the fullest to know, love, and serve God – whether it is the time during your leave, during holidays, at school, or at work. Even recreation is a downtime that is to help us to get back to serving God better. A sign of a wise person is how he uses his time, talent, and resources. What do you feel about prayer meeting, Bible study time? Do you prefer instead to do other things in 2022? Don’t be unwise but instead redeem your time!
Accurately. Carefulness is different from accuracy. We may try to make our choices carefully but if we don’t know God’s Word, it may be a very inaccurate choice. Accuracy must be based upon God’s known will as He tells us in His Word. So, we not only need to know God’s Word well to know the boundary, but we must also know God’s Word in order to make accurate choices. Without a good and sound knowledge of God’s Word, we may be ignorantly choosing the wrong things while thinking we have been carefully weighing things! This requires precision in choices while restraining ourselves from being impulsive and mindless in our choices in 2022.
Purposefully. To be wise ie walk circumspectly, the Apostle Paul mentions another aspect required besides redeeming the time. He urges readers to stop being unwise, “but understanding what the will of the Lord is”. We must remind ourselves about the will of God for a believer – our purpose in life after salvation. If we do not keep reminding ourselves that we are saved to live the immense privilege of glorifying Him and to be used by Him for His kingdom, we will get distracted and eventually feel restricted in the boundary we live in. If your purpose is clear like Paul who said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21), then you will never feel that Christian living is too restrictive when told to redeem, ie exchange, earthly pleasures for spiritual growth. In fact, if you are driven by a clear purpose to live for Christ in 2022, you will feel restricted when you find that earthly things encroach upon your time with God and for God. David Brainerd was single-mindedly purposeful in living for and serving his God in his lifetime. So, at a relatively young age of 29 wrote and having already shined so brightly for God, yet he wrote in his diary “Oh, how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misemployed it or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey!” It’s too late to redeem the time that is past, but not the time that is ahead! How much time have you wasted in 2021? If God has spared you from COVID-19 and allowed you to enter 2022, will you be wise and walk circumspectly? Or will you choose to be foolish and waste the opportunity that He extends to you in 2022? It is your choice alone.
Yours in our Lord’s service,