By Lois J. Stucky (1928 – 2014)
As citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we Christians of every nation do well to keep on alert regarding the spiritual dangers of these last perilous days, of which we read in Second Timothy 3:1-5. We dare not slumber in a false security. The keeping of our souls is too vital a matter! Our subtle enemy Satan, can do us greater damage long term than can visible enemies who can kill the body but not the soul. At night, watchmen must be particularly vigilant. And as the nighttime on this earth deepens, we must be carefully attentive in order to protect and to keep safe not only our own souls, but also those for whom we have special responsibility.
"Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence…" (Prov. 4:23)
Moses gave strong warning to the people he was leading into the promised land. "Beware," he entreated them, "that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day" (Deut. 8:11). If they forget God, Moses told them, "...Ye shall surely perish...because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God" (vv. 19-20). Oh, the loss of choosing not to be obedient to the rightful claims of a righteous and loving God!
"I would never forget God," I might think. And yet amid the many temptations of today, how easy it is to begin now and then to deliberately choose our own self-centered way rather than to submit to God’s way, oblivious to the fact that we are setting foot on a "slippery slope" that goes downward. Our wily foe Satan gets his suggestions through to us, veering us off God’s perfect way of obedience.
The Apostle Peter urges us to beware of evil men who twist the Scriptures and lead us astray after their errors, so that we fall from a steadfast stand on God’s Word (2 Pet. 3:17). How vulnerable we may be to this danger in a day when there are those who "call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20).
Jesus warned His disciples over and over to beware of those who substitute the traditions of men for the teachings of God. And He warned us also to beware of covetousness, which has led many away from the simplicity that is in Christ. Our blessed Savior, the Lover of our souls, calls to one church after another, as recorded in Revelation, chapters two and three, to repent of their sins and to walk uprightly. He wants to send rich blessings upon His people; He wants to use them as effective workers in His harvest field. But sadly our sin hinders Him from doing so.
Keeping Watchful and Alert
Thank God that by His Word and by His Spirit we can determine what it is that God desires of us. His Word has good, specific teachings, if we have ears to hear. How essential it is that we break up any fallow ground, and that we be the good soil in which His Word will bring forth fruit! By God’s grace and help, might we be among those fit to seek Him for the precious showers of blessing so indispensable in this hour of spiritual dearth.
And how carefully we need to guard our love life with the Lord. It is a noble life to which Christians have been called. We are not to serve from hardening self-interest; nor from a galling yoke of duty; nor from any other unworthy motive. Might we serve willingly as those who find genuine joy in rendering obedience to the kind and benevolent King of love and righteousness, and in bringing pleasure to Him. He is worthy of our supreme devotion.
Might we ever keep alert to the significance of this hour in which we live. We have been called to help hold high His banner of truth and righteousness in a sinful hour when many would shoot it down. Might we be greatly inspired in our efforts by thoughts of that glorious, coming day when we behold our Lord in His glory and when we are in His very presence! What glory it will be to be with Him! What unspeakable glory! God keep us among the blessed who endure to the end!
Love in Christ