The text for this week is Ephesians 5:15-16:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
I once served as a chaperone for a high school youth trip to the Hocking Hills region of Ohio in March. If we were hiking in mountainous areas of West Virginia or Kentucky, I would have gone with a little trepidation. But hiking Ohio? No problem.
At least, no problem until the third morning found us hiking the Ash Cave Rim Trail, with ice lacing the narrow hard-packed path. It is a hundred feet from the rim to the floor of the Ash Cave hollow. “Be careful” and “watch your step” became a mantra from the chaperones, as we slid along the trail vainly trying to keep up with the teenagers.
I think the Ash Cave Rim Trail captures something of Ephesians 5:15. It is far too easy to think that we don’t really need to look carefully at how we walk in Christ. We can start thinking that, since we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, there is no need to really scrutinize our daily lives.
Yet earlier in Ephesians chapter 5 we are reminded of a range of ways we can fall off the trail: Sexual immorality and covetousness (v. 3) as well as foolish talk and crude joking (v. 4). In fact, we’re warned not to take part in any “works of darkness” (v. 11).
Hence, we are urged to look carefully how we walk, as if we are always walking along the rim of the hollow.
This would be a heavy weight in life if we were not God’s “children of light” (v. 8). But we are God’s children. When we stumble off the path, God forgives and restores us. His grace becomes our motivation for being careful in how we walk.
(This devotional was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS)