Cautiousness is being discerning so we do not rush into things when the timing is wrong, or the situation does not merit it. It is being sensitive to dangers, God's timing, providence, and the knowledge He gives us. It is keeping a governor on our passions and excitement so we do not overrun others or take others to places they are not ready for yet. Being cautious also means knowing that we are not the essential component of the church, He is. (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 3:5-14; 12:16; 14:15; 16:25; 19:2; 28:26; 29:20; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Isaiah 55:8-9; John 5:30; Romans 12:21; James 1:19).
Careless attitude, Recklessness, Irresponsibility, and Haste are all opposites. These allow our excitement and boldness to control us, not the reality of the situation or the allowing of the other characters to work in harmony. If we permit unrestrained passions to direct us, we may take the church and/or our personal life in the wrong direction. We will then miss vital opportunities, and what Christ really called us to.
The old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is very much true. Thinking a few minutes ahead will save you countless years of misery and stress! Being careful has four main aspects to it. First, we are to be careful with the preferences and choices we make in our personal lives and ministry. Second, we need to be able to form solid opinions and then act with effectiveness, shrewdness and prudence. This will mean we are giving serious attention and thought to what is going on, and what we are doing in, and around our lives. Third, being careful means we will not take unnecessary chances or put ourselves or others in unnecessarily dangerous or bad situations. Fourth, being careful is a management tool we use to control our attitude and words, as in how we come across to others. We must take careful heed, so we are our best in words and deeds, not allowing our emotions or the situation dictate our behaviors.
By understanding Cautiousness, we can gain better information and council before we make decisions. Also, we can think before we act so we do not rush into something that is precarious or hazardous, or that will put us on the wrong track in life. We will be able to see what and how the options and decisions we make play out in the future, how they affect us and others-both now and also down the road. We can be sensitive, avoiding people who are not right for us, who may influence us to make bad decisions. When we are seeking God's ways, we are on the right track; when we are seeking our emotions and desires, we are apt to be on the wrong track of life. God's ways and plans are better than ours. We tend not to see how all things work together and how people and situations are influenced by causes and motivations. We need to trust in God and His way, because His is better than ours.
Is the Character of Cautiousness working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Cautiousness, from God's most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Cautiousness in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to be careful with decisions and opportunities?
- What blocks Cautiousness from working, and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Cautiousness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Daniel 1:8-17; Luke 12:37-40; John 7:1; 11:54)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 19:22- 20-47; Daniel 4:28-33; Matthew 18:21-35; John 10:39)
- How would you define Cautiousness? Are you a cautious person? If so, what about situations where you are very excited and leap before you look?
- What part does Cautiousness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? What about in your passions and desires?
- How does being Irresponsible counteract Cautiousness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is reckless?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Careless and reckless?
- When have you been filled with Cautiousness the most?
- Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Careful although you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Cautiousness? Do you jump in, or do you look, and discern first? What happens when people just jump in to something without first looking at it, or examining the situation?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Cautiousness into action in a specific instance, such as, How can you anticipate negative influences before they influence you in the wrong direction? Who can you go to for help in seeing the big picture, and for good advice?
© 2003, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org