Look Carefully How You Walk

August 7, 2013
by Isabel Allison

Ephesians 5:15 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise. (RSV)

It was in the days of school inspectors.

Inspector Clark, round of tummy and bald of head, strode to and fro on the platform leading a singsong to open the evening session of the Teachers' Convention. We teachers sat before him in long rows, joining in heartily as he waved his arms in wide arcs directing the parts of the round, "Man's Life's a Vapour."

Twice we sang through, then again:

Man's life's a vapour full of woes;
He cuts a caper and down he goes:
Down and down and down and down he —

"Oh-ooo-oo," rang out from the teachers. One of Inspector Clark's striding legs was out over the edge of the platform. So engrossed had he been in his directing that he had not watched where he walked. Though very shaken, Inspector Clark didn't seem badly hurt.

But the sense of awe — at the way the man went down as an object lesson punctuating the song at the precise moment of its own innate and dreadful warning — pervaded the rest of the evening.

For the words of the song are old, old words, with universal truth: People do fall with a false step, with foolish living, a daring act, with unthinking words, an unwise investment, immoral conduct, improper handling of firearms or chemicals, abuse of the body, neglect of godly advice, careless driving ….

With some falls, and even without them, life can be uncertain. "What is your life?" asks Jesus' disciple, James, "You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14b NIV).

So, we do well to listen, too, to the Apostle Paul:

Ephesians 5:15-20 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in songs and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (RSV)

Prayer: Lord God, cause us to live carefully, remembering that You care infinitely for each one of us. Through Your Word, help us to understand what Your will is. Keep us in Your will, and in Your Spirit of power, day by day, moment by moment. We thank You that You are always present with us, wanting the best for us in Your kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Isabel Allison <allisonisabel@mymts.net>
Roland, Manitoba, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good one, Isabel. Thank you.


    Good words Isabel. Thanks for sharing.


    Thank you for everything you write in Jesus Name!


    Dearest Isabel.
    Thank YOU for writing to us through PresbyCan Daily.


    Isabel, Thank you for painting such a vivid picture in our minds. We are all a single choice away from a fall. What a poignant reminder. God Bless you for sharing.


    Thanking you from my heart for your words this morning…sending me off for the day excited to present our Lord to those I come in contact with. God bless you.


    How well I remember the school inspector’s visits, especially in our lower grades. He would sit at the back of room where he could watch our every move – or so we thought. We imagined he had a button he could press, sending any offender directly to the principal’s office. It took several visits before we realized he was there to watch the teacher’s methods, but his presence certainly had an effect on our behaviour. The teacher must have been pleased as we watched carefully how we “walked.”


    HI Isabel,
    I can really relate to your devotion this morning as I walk carefully wherever I go. I am usually looking down at the ground when I walk because I am so afraid of falling. My father fell when he was 77 and that was the beginning of the end for him. Although he didn’t break anything he ended up in the hospital and one thing led to another until he ended up in a nursing home. And it always seems to happen so fast – like your Inspector – one minute you’re up the next you’re down. Just like in life, so uncertain, as you say in your message this morning. How wonderful to know that God is always with us and that He walks with us along life’s paths. Have a blessed day!


    Isabel, Thank you for painting such a vivid picture in our minds. We are all a single choice away from a fall. What a poignant reminder. God Bless you for sharing.


    Hello Isabel,
    This devotional reminded me vividly of the results of several falls I have had due to ‘mis-steps’, both in the natural and spiritual areas of my life. In both cases God supplied the grace to help me get back on my feet. It also brought to mind the words of a chorus I learned in Sunday school. I have an important part to play. “Be careful little feet where you go, The Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little feet where you go.”
    Thanks Isabel.

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