We often use the words above when saying goodbye to someone – we want them to keep safe, to drive carefully etc. It’s interesting, however, how words can change their use or meaning over time – for instance the KJV translates Paul’s opening words in Philippians 4v6: “Be careful for nothing”. Paul is actually talking about anxious care and worry, so the NIV translates the same words “Do not be anxious about anything”.
We were studying at Wednesday’s homegroup part of Moses’ long goodbye to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4. One of his repeated instructions to the people was “be careful, and watch yourselves closely” (v9). How prone they were (and we are) to forget, to ignore, to disobey God’s commands and so Moses stresses the need to take care (especially to avoid idols), to remember all God has done in the past and to teach faithfully their (and our) children.
The careless, sloppy and unobservant Christian faces serious danger – we may remember Jesus’ words in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26v41). Paul also reinforces this theme: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10v12).
Such exhortations should be sufficient motivation enough – but if any further is required reflect on these words in 1 Peter 5v7,8: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We should have no anxious care because God perfectly takes care of us, yet we must always remain very careful, especially in view of the enemy we face.
So do take care – especially during the long summer holidays!
Peace and Grace