Vigilant flexibility

Vigilant flexibility

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. – Ephesians 5:15

Ephesians 5:15-19

 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

In June 2020, America entered a complicated new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That challenge was a function of a complicated public-health picture combined with contradictory public attitudes. Even as economic activity resumed, COVID-19 cases are rose in many locations. This was not a second wave. Rather, it was a series of spikes off the first surge. In the following months, some states would see infections rise while others fall. The trick would be to manage the constant risk of COVID-19 while restarting normal life.

The remainder of 2020 warranted flexibility and tolerance, trying different ways to adapt to new evidence. In a country with such fractured politics, this was no small challenge.

Instead of a “binary choice” between lockdowns and total freedom, this phase called for “vigilant flexibility,” as states and cities adapted to shifting circumstances. Public officials should strongly encourage masks, and distancing as the economy tentatively reopens, and when hotspots arise, they should track the origins and “be ready to curtail specific activities.” We “need to focus on building public confidence” and instilling “the patience to get through what could be a hard fall and winter” (Scott Gottlieb and Yuval Levin June 14, 2020, WSJ).

How should children of the King live in uncertain times when both seen and unseen hazards and difficulties abound? As children of the King we have a special responsibility. It requires a delicate balance. We are to stand firm upon the foundation of truth that we have received and yet be flexible and understanding, willing to modify our words and actions.

Proverbs 27:12 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Vigilant flexibility is what is needed! The apostle Paul told the Father’s children how to live wisely. Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. – Ephesians 5:15-16


The Father has set the bar high for each of His children. But He is also made it possible to attain and realize His standards through the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Father teach us to walk circumspectly and exercise diligent flexibility in the hazardous times in which we live. Encourage us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.


The Greek word translated carefully, circumspectly is akribos. Akribos has the sense of exactness or thoroughness. When it comes to ethical decisions and behavior it is often translated diligently, perfectly, circumspectly, or accurately. In other words, “pay close attention to how you behave” (UBS).  

Consider how a cat is able to walk on top of a very thin narrow fence without falling. They are very careful where they place each paw as they navigate their way. They walk circumspectly.

How do we live wisely?

Ephesians 5:18 Be filled with the Holy Spirit.

At 40,000 feet, at minimum, the Holy Spirit can be understood as a positive influence and a supernatural power source. He becomes our guide and companion as we navigate our way through life’s choices. The Holy Spirit is just the power source we need to be able to live wisely and walk circumspectly. He provides direction and the ability to accomplish what the Father sets before us.

The Greek verb translated filled is pleroo. Pleroo means to fill completely, to make full. In the context it has the sense of being controlled or under the influence of, in a fashion similar to being intoxicated with alcoholic beverages.

But there is more. This is one of those places where understanding the original Koine Greek of the New Testament is of great value. The verbal form is in the imperative mood. In simple English, it is a command, not a suggestion. It is in the present tense and envisions continuous or repeated action. It is also a passive verb meaning the subject receives the action rather than performs the action.

Thus it could be accurately translated, “Be constantly, moment by moment, being controlled by the spirit” (Wuest).

As we learn to live being filled or under the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom grows, and our life choices improve.

Philippians 1:27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ . . . standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.


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