For want of watchfulness   Leave a comment

For want of watchfulness, God often gives us up for a time to such a perplexed state that we shall not know that we have any grace, and though we may have a principle of grace in us, yet we shall not know it, but may even go out of the world in darkness (Richard Sibbes 1577-1635)

In this generation probably as in the time of Sibbes, there is much apathy and people are wound up in their own lives. And then there is the other extreme, an openness to everyone’s opinion as equal and inspired. As a rule I would say most should keep quiet even if they be thought a fool , rather than open their mouth and remove all doubt. It is true what the scriptures say, in Ephesians 4, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It is here where watchfulness should increase in this godless age. Daily I find myself also having to watch what I say and how I say it, lest I throw my testimony away by careless speech. And by careless associations. Talking to some else the other day about what is a and what is not acceptable behaviour, he simple said “ it is human nature to gossip” While this may be true, I do not have to associate with those who gossip and slander. It is a Christians duty to be watchful, and pray the prayer the Lord taught us “ Let us not be led into temptation but deliver us from evil.

A friend shared with me recently ( from a totally different theological perspective,) “You have to whatch the “gates” to your soul, the eye gate, through what you allow yourself to see, the mouth gate through what you allow to yourself to say and the ear-gate, through what you allow yourself to hear. That is I found quite true, although the Bible says it somewhat differently, it comes down to the same thing. Behaviour is key to a sound faith. You cannot say one thing and do another, that is hypocrisy, and to pretend to be what you are not is putting your soul in harm’s way.

Sibbes says that “God often gives us up for a time to such a perplexed state” because we actually do not take enough care about what we allow ourselves to say and do” This I found out too by hard experience, there is a total lack of discernment with most I meet,(not that I don’t make the same mistake sometimes) Of lending out my eyes and ears to company that does in fact do nothing edifying for me. Yet even there, we have what Wesley called, “pre venient grace” the grace that keeps you while you are yet in error. Spiritual darkness and uncertainty is not to be desired and is in fact a chastisement from the Lord, in my opinion. It is better to be watchful and take careful note of our ways. Lest we find ourselves wrapped up in a perplexity of spirit when we meddle to much in the world’s ways.

1 John 2: 15 still says it best. 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Is it then not too much of price to pay to remain un-mindful to the state of our souls? My recommendation to you and myself is to take care in what we say and do, lest we offend the Spirit of grace. As we often do, and to return to the Lord with a sound fear to submit to His will and not only avoid the things we shouldn’t do, but do the things we should.

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Posted March 31, 2010 by Reformed and renewed in Devotional

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