Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, Ephesians 5:15
These passages are challenging for those who are under grace. We are to walk in wisdom, circumspectly, not as fools. The particular context here, explained in the Ephesians passage and referenced in the Colossians passage, is our relationship with the world and the people of the world. There are practical dangers for the people of God in this world.
Let’s be sure we are clear on this. I do not believe that the temptations of the world can cause us to lose our salvation or to fall out of favor with God. But I do believe that those temptations can affect our marriages, our health, our relationships, and many other parts of our lives here and now. For example, I see a lot of joking about alcohol among those who celebrate the freedom of grace. That may be innocent enough, but we cannot forget that alcohol holds a serious trap for many people. I sometimes see grace folks flirting in overt ways. I am not a prude, far from it, but I do know that there are dangers in flirtatious relationships. We do not want to deceive ourselves. Not everything is safe for us.
Legalist teachers are very aware of the dangers of this world. They would use these verses to call us to be very careful as we walk and they would be happy to provide us with rules so we could walk rightly (according to their standards). We don’t need this. We simply need to follow our Lord.
The call of Jesus is not for us to watch our steps. In spite of the sound of these verses, it would not be helpful for us to try to live by a set of rules. It has not worked and will not work. So the believer is not called to watch where he or she walks, as though you and I could somehow discern the dangers for ourselves. Instead, we are called to follow Jesus. We are to watch where He walks.
Imagine that you are walking through a minefield. The mines are carefully concealed. The person with you knows the path through the field. What should you do? Should you try your best to walk carefully through the minefield, always aware of the danger? Or should you watch the person who knows where he is going and follow him? Seems simple, doesn’t it?
So walk in wisdom by following Jesus.