Are You Walking Circumspectly?

by Mike Ratliff

Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.  (Proverbs 15:21 ESV)

I have never been to Seminary. My degree is in Business Management and all of my College education and training since has been in Information Management. I work as a Database Administrator for a fairly large hospital group. I’ve been in one form or another of this type of work since 1973 so I’ve been at it quite some time. I’ve seen a lot of change. I’ve also been through many jobs and have had jobs just go away as companies merge with other companies or get bought out by others. The company I work for now is in the process of merging with a company of about equal size. I am still about six or seven years from retirement age and am one of the senior people at our office. Today we learned some of the goals for the merger is to get I.T. costs in line with other companies our size (after the merger). They will accomplish this via attrition, severance packages, outsourcing, et cetera over the next two to four years.

They have hired a manager that is in between me and the manager who hired me 9 years ago who is also my friend. This new guy knows nothing about database management. He knows nothing about how DBAs do their jobs in an integrated way with with system analysts and the rest of the company. It is all I can do some days to keep from walking into his office and telling him to just shut up and mind his own business when he says something stupid about how I work with other people in our group or with other managers. It is on days like that, days like today when it just seems like life is unraveling all around me and there just doesn’t seem to be any point in even trying to do a good job for this company who wants me to put in another 16 hour day yet question my value to their future. It is then that I must turn to my redeemer and get the right perspective. I know that the world’s answer would be to respond totally in the flesh, but that is not the way of the Christian who is walking Circumspectly is it? 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use 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 psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

Βλέπετε οὖν πῶς ἀκριβῶς περιπατεῖτε, μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι, ἀλλ᾿ ὡς σοφοί, ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν αιρόν, ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσι. διὰ τοῦτο μὴ γίνεσθε ἄφρονες, ἀλλὰ συνιέντες τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ υρίου. καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν Πνεύματι, λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς, ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ Κυρίῳ, εὐχαριστοῦντες πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρί. ῾Υποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 GNT)

See then how circumspectly you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days evil are. Through this not become unthinking, but understand what the will of the Lord. And not be drunk in wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled in spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and songs spiritual, singing and psalming in the heart of you to the Lord, giving thanks always on behalf of all in the name of the Lord of us Jesus Christ to the God and father. Being subject to one another in fear of Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 a word-for-word translation from Koine Greek to English)

This “walking,” this περιπατεῖτε is the present, indicative, active form of the verb περιπατέω, which, in this context, is speaking of ‘walking concerning something.’ It is describing a certain way in which a Christian walks through each day. It has to do with relationships and how he or she responds and reacts both outwardly and inwardly to all of life’s circumstances. Paul tells us to do this ἀκριβῶς or akribōs. I translated this as “circumspectly” and the ESV as “carefully.” The idea is to walk through this life looking all around, being on the lookout. The word ἀκριβῶς can also be translated as “accurate, which speaks of precision, diligence, accuracy, and exactness. Those are very important things in how I do my job as a DBA, but in our walk as Christians it also applies in our diligence to hold to the things of the Lord. Think of those preachers of God’s Word who hold firm and never waiver. They are diligent. Now think of those who do the very opposite as they waiver all over the place desperately seeking to be culturally relevant.

According to this passage, we are to examine ourselves, and investigate our walk with utmost care. I pray for wisdom and discernment as much as possible. To be wise is to walk watchfully, looking at and carefully examining everything with which we come in contact. As far as discernment goes, it is also something that we must diligently pray for and practice. As we walk circumspectly to investigate and examine everything we are being discerning. When we walk this way, we will know what the will of the Lord is and obey it. We will be pilots who know the way. We will know where we are going and why. We will know what we believe and why we believe it. On the other hand, those who do not walk circumspectly are like the pilot who does not know what port he is heading for. To him, no wind is the right wind. Isn’t that what the post-modern mindset says that there are no absolutes? We must walk circumspectly irregardless of what the world thinks or does.

Soli Deo Gloria!




28 thoughts on “Are You Walking Circumspectly?

  1. May the Lord give you His strenght patience and peace. Mike, I have been there many times but am still learning. I have learned to keep my mouth shut and at times still let it roll. Please email me and know that my prayers are for you. 17 months being unemployed is not easy but the Lord has been sustaining a roof over my head. Their is only one person that could do that, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ! For I don’t know what to do but continue in His word
    In Christ,

  2. Yes it is. For He walks with us and teaches us. For the Lords children are cared for. Even in a dire of time. For again He is teaching us!
    In Christ,

  3. Hi Mike – It has been awhile. Moving 5 states away has been an experience. I have been on my job for a month now. Principal at a Christian school. Great group of people I work with on the management team. I have had to learn the concept of “managing up” though. Your post strikes a nerve within me as I have been in your shoes. I had to remind myself daily that I work for Him.

    Colossians 3:22-24
    22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ.

  4. Yes, Mike, these days it is quite right to be as “circumspect” as possible.
    Satan still has his booby-traps that we must watch out for, and the Lord knew that we would need constant prodding to stay alert for them!
    Please be encouraged, brother, as you continue to serve Him, where He hs placed you!

  5. Thank you Kathy! I have always looked at my job as how God has “moved” me, but you know, I will be 59 in a couple of months and I had hoped that his one would be my last. Oh well. There have been several people wanting me to publish something. I have no idea if that is even feasible. I will only do it if that is what God directs. Please pray for God to make this clear for me.

  6. Why would the company hire a manager that doesn’t know anything about what you do and put him over you? Sheesh this world is nutty! Well the Lord says He will exalt you in due time. It may mean now in this world, or later with Him, but it will happen. Hang in there Mike.

  7. Paul and Luann, the answer to that question is that he came from our main hardware vendor who is constantly telling our project managers that they could save a lot of money by outsourcing all of that data management and stuff with them instead of doing it in-house with us like we do now. I catch him in this sort of stuff every time we meet. It would be really funny if I didn’t also know that what these jokers are up to will cost a lot of my friends their jobs in couple of years. Of course, my Database expertise is light years ahead of anything they have and I prove that in our meetings with them on projects. However, remember, we are talking dollars here, not wisdom.

  8. Hi Mike,
    I will pray for wisdom for you and that as you live and pray Proverbs 3:5-6 that you will have peace. I went through a takeover situation with the hospital I work at for over 26 years. It was supposed to be a merger…but it was not, as we had to change everything we did concerning patient care to the way they did it. We were a much smaller hospital than the takeover hospital. It was all about money-under the disguise of quality of care improvement. Everything was cheapened, staff was cut, we lost equipment we needed and over the long run patient care suffered…but it did not matter. I sure hope and pray you don’t have to go through that much change but even if you do, the Lord is in charge of it all and He does work everything out for our good. He will watch over you.

  9. Thanks Diane! This is a merger with a system that is about the same size as us. We are more advanced in some areas than they are and they are more advanced in some areas than us. We are not-for-profit as is the system with which we are merging. However, I am amazed that the leadership at the top seems to be all coming from the other company and that the emphasis from this point on will be that all processes will be according to the LEAN SYSTEM. Well, all of the terminology from that is right out of the Hegelian Dialectic, Transformative stuff that I wrote about a couple of months ago. I hear some stuff on the spiritual side from these people that is right out of the new age nonsense I write about here… Well, I have really been puzzled why I was taken out of the workplace and made to work from home about a year ago when I started having seizures. It was when I started going back to work a couple days a week in March that I encountered all the changes. It was like it was a different company than the one I worked for.

    I have stood up to this guy who they have placed over me because he was insulting and demeaning and really hurt the feelings of one of my DBAs. She almost quit. He backed off some after that. My original boss told me that this guy had been told up front that everyone already knew how to do their jobs. They didn’t need anyone leaning on them to do that, but he seems to think otherwise.

  10. Oh boy, did I have that problem with an an assistant head nurse. Her postion was created as a “gift” to us from the merger/takeover. To do things her way would have endangered the care of patients. And, even when we did do some minor, unimportant things her way and they failed, as we knew they would since we were actually the ones doing the work and knew what was feasible and what was not…even when the head nurse was made aware of the problems nothing was ever, ever done to that assistant head nurse. We knew we were sunk! We finally all decided it was better not to make her an enemy and do the very best we could to give the appearance that things were happily going her way and stay out of her path. Fortunately for us, she was not too bright. She spent most of her time every morning dusting the counter tops of the nurses station and straightening the work area. Ha! We never complained about her not helping with the Doctors or paper work or other things she was supposed to be doing…that was a safe activity for her. She sure lasted a long time there. Amazing!!

  11. Diane, that’s interesting because that is exactly how I have been with this guy ever since we had our big blow up. I simply stay out of his way and only speak to him if he speaks to me first. I was working in my office on Tuesday and he came up behind me and watched me without me knowing it. Then he cleared his throat so I would know he was there. He wanted to know if I was still mad at him. i just looked at him and said I was too busy for that sort of stuff.

    What this guy can’t get through his head is that most of what I do during the day is just monitor stuff and set things up to process at night. The real action is at night. That is why I am on call 24/7. Lots of fun. When I came back to work in March, his big deal was that if you weren’t at your desk then you weren’t working. Fun times.

  12. Yeah, and it has been my experience that the most inept managers tend to stick around no matter what because, well, even though everyone deep down knows they are not performing well… no one really wants to admit they made such an error in judgment in hiring this person in the first place…so some pride is at play as those in charge deny the situation away. Sure has been my experience. These managers never seem error quite so badly that they have to leave…you just get the pleasure of having to get used to the insanity.:-)

  13. Amen Mike.
    As you well know, this is all in Gods plan for you. He has lessons you cannot learn any other way but by being where you are. The madness of the new age thinking is everywhere, it serves to accentuate and feed mans fleshly desires. I was listening to an audio from Dean Gotchers site the other day about general system theory and quality management, which is very relevant.
    ( this page : )

    My husband left a job because his manager was so bullying and immoral. God provided for us in miraculous ways and brought us both back to him in the two years he was unemployed. It was however a dark and difficult time for us both and nearly broke us in many ways. When he found a job again, it was one that he had put the least effort into finding, and infact he only applied for it because he felt he had an obligation to respect the authorities God put over us and fulfill his quota for the week for his benefits! It is a sales job, which he hates.It was almost as if God said ‘ right ,time to go back to that situation, but now I’ve prepared you’. We both believe it is where God wants him. He has learnt so much about obedience and the verse above from ‘colossians’ quoted by Brian is very appropriate to him. He serves a corrupt and immoral slave master again. And they literally treat him as a slave, even more so because they know that back at head office there is a stack of cvs from people desperate for a job. In fact when someone is not towing the line they’ll call them into the office to show them!!They ask him to travel away at the last moment, they accuse him wrong doing, even though it is their systems that are failing.They call him at all times of the day,even though he is not on call and certainly not paid for it. In fact they now employ people to do my husbands job for half his wage just because they can; so we think that he will most likely be pushed out at some point to increase their profits further! The managers in my husband place are promoted because they say the right things, they often don’t even know about or hold to any of the companys policies and systems.Utter madness !!The world holds no security at the best of times, certainly not now. Had we not been through all this though, we would not have learnt how to love God properly. We are still learning and are expecting much harder times ahead, but instead of fear in our hearts there is strength.
    I pray that you feel that strength Mike. Everytime you have to keep your mouth closed, even though you feel like you want to scream out loud, I pray you will know Jesus is right there with you. He is your boss and all your work is for him. Even if they ask you to do the most meaningless thing, if you do it for Christ it means everything.
    (Sorry for rambling again).

  14. Thanks for sharing that Fiona. That sounded all too familiar. This new manager has tried to pull a lot of that same stuff like if I don’t walk by your cube and see you in there working well when the time comes to see who we keep and who we don’t when we merge… Well you get the idea. That was when I confronted him and call him on it. In that same meeting he told us that if we didn’t like it then we could go to our old boss and complain. Well, I did. He was reprimanded severely for it, but he is still there. When that happened I realized that his being there is part of the merger turnover plan and I had better get ready. Yes, God is in control, not them.

  15. In certain situations and with certain people it would be sooo easy and has been easy for me in the flesh to ‘loose our witness’.
    Then what have we gained? Some moment of false satisfaction in returning harsh for harsh, evil for evil, pain for pain, sorrow for sorrow?
    We have been falsely taught by our flesh and people of the flesh that we have rights… we shouldn’t just let others get over on us etc.
    We have no real concept to grasp of being a real slave because we are kings over our own selves here in America.
    False kings… we have our ” God given rights” and we will fight, sue and win and kill for those rights…

    OH but… ‘God in the flesh’, ‘God with us’ was so clear and He meant every word and His authority is not changed and neither are His words changed due to some made up time frame that man thinks he can place on it.
    See all of Matthew 5

  16. Amen Brent! I know exactly what you are saying. As I go back and reflect on how I have reacted to this whole thing in light of this I can only repent. Yes, I am still aghast at what is going on. Yes, I am still upset when I see this guy bullying my friends and trying get them to get mad so they will quit. Yes, it is shameful. I find it so strange now when I walk through the executive area and none of those people will look me in the eye anymore. Well, so be it. Yes, I will respond as Christian and not in the flesh and will know that when the accounting is done in the end these people will have a lot to answer to for. My part is to make sure that I do not, that I come through it according to God’s will and that means that I must not react in the flesh, seeking revenge, demanding my rights, etc. All of the confrontational stuff I have done so far has been on behalf of my two DBAs whom I hired, not me.

  17. Hey Mike, the LEAN stuff is obviously not Christian, but — if implemented correctly — leads go great things for companies. The problem is, so many companies *say* they’re LEAN and use some of the terms, but they are not LEAN. For example, outsourcing is the opposite of LEAN and layoffs are not within the LEAN mindset. So, if your company is thinking about layoffs and/or outsourcing, they are most definitely not following the LEAN system.

    In a true LEAN system, it is the guys on the floor who are encouraged to come up with better ways to do things and make improvements, although it is up to managers to make final decisions. Oh, and in the LEAN system, there are fewer managers, so the fact that they brought in another layer in your situation is also opposite of LEAN.

    Okay, that’s my rant about LEAN hypocrites.:)

    Hang in there, Mike. All things work together for good for those who are the called!

  18. Carol.:-) hence my confusion since we have this clueless person actually causing us to be less productive by making us have more meetings and do more useless paper work instead of just doing our real work.:-)

    I just sent the guy a very well done article on what real Database Management is and why it is invaluable in the Medical Field and not to be tampered with. That was a couple of hours ago and he has yet to respond. Hmmmm….:-)

  19. I can relate, Mike. I too am going through a restructuring right now with another layer put in between me and the guy who hired me. Also work with information.

    All that is by the way. You can be assured of my prayers. We are being tested and how we respond is important. Our witness is on the line here.

    The Lord will use this for good. He always does.

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