Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity,
Ephesians 5:15-16a

It is so tempting to live carefree! Sometimes I just plain get tired. And the older I get, the more tired I get. But God’s Word applies to us whether we are 2, 22 or 102 years old. Now granted, a two year old doesn’t understand very much about living wisely. But it is certainly an age at which they can begin to learn. And the life of a 102 year old isn’t quite the same as the life of a 22 year old. And those of us that are somewhere in between – well, I’ve learned that each decade brings its own challenges to living carefully. In each age, there is a temptation to live carefree, the definition of carefree just changes a bit! At 2 it means don’t bite your sister! At 22 it means watch your entertainment! At 52 it means don’t grow weary in well-doing. At 102 it means watch your thoughts and attitudes. Or something like that. (Details may vary based on personal temptations.)

God’s Word, however, tells us to live “carefully”, not “carefree.” We are enjoined to “Make the most of every opportunity.” I need this encouragement, this urging on to greater things.

A television show I used to like (a couple of decades ago) was Hill Street Blues. It was a cop show that always began with the morning briefing. At the end of the briefing, the Sergeant always said, “And Hey! Let’s be very careful out there!” That’s what God is saying to us. The policemen and women were being charged to be careful because each day they faced danger. The same is true for us – each day we face temptation from the enemy who is trying to trip us up and cause us to fall into sin. Let’s not kid ourselves – yes, it is a fall into sin, but it is always a conscious choice to fall. The enemy can catch us by surprise if we’re not living carefully (and sometimes even when we are), but there is always a point at which we decide to no longer be careful and “allow” ourselves to fall.

Living carefully doesn’t mean not experiencing the freedom that living in Christ makes available. Living in Christ’s freedom is freedom from condemnation and guilt. It is freedom from religion. It is freedom from bondage to sin. And such living brings a lightness in one’s spirit that makes one feel carefree. That’s wonderful. I hope that we can all grasp that. The kind of carefree we ought to avoid is the kind that causes us not to care about how we are living.

Living carefully does not mean living in bondage. I’m not talking about a set of rules that we need to keep – being very careful not to break any of them. I’m talking about how we live so that we please God and allow Him to shine through us.

Living carefully does not mean being a workaholic – even if it’s being a workaholic for the Lord! God’s example to us and best plan for us is to work, then rest. His Word speaks strongly about honoring the Sabbath (as in considering it important enough to include in the Ten Commandments!). Science teaches us that resting allows our bodies to refresh and heal themselves regularly. Business studies show that creativity is greatly enhanced by regular times of rest. We will have more energy to live carefully if we rest regularly.

I want to represent Christ well in the world in which I live. That means I must be very careful in how I live.

Lord, help me because sometimes I just want to stop being vigilant. Help me to make the most of every opportunity and rest in between the opportunities, trusting you to handle them while I sleep.

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