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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 45 : Watch and Pray | Day 312

Watch for Dangers!

It was his greatest dream. The little boy would sit on the shore of the Mississippi River and watch the steamboats go by, wishing he could take a ride on one of them. He imagined how wonderful it would be to be a captain and to go exploring up and down the river, enjoying the interesting sights. One day his dream came true! A captain invited the little boy to join him on his boat for the day to observe the skills of being a captain.

As they pushed off from shore, the boy began to gaze in wonder at all that was taking place around him. However, the captain called him over and told him that a good captain always keeps his attention focused on the water. He explained that even though the river was wide, the channel was narrow. If a captain did not discern the path of the channel and guide the boat carefully through it, he would ground the boat. He also explained that the differing shades of water must be carefully observed, because the channel's location could have changed during a storm.

At the end of the trip the boy disappointedly exclaimed, "I did not get to see the scenery along the shores!"

The captain wisely replied, "The goal of a captain is not to gaze at the sights along the way, but to guide his boat safely to its destination." The same is true for our lives.

Guiding our lives safely through the storms and dangers of life requires us to keep our focus on Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation. (See Hebrews 2:10.)

There are several important signs of danger that we must watch for in our Christian lives so that we do not end up shipwrecking our faith. (See I Timothy 1:19.) One sign of spiritual danger is losing our appetite for spiritual disciplines, such as reading, memorizing, and meditating on God's Word and communing with God in prayer. This danger occurs when we fill our lives with the things of this world rather than the things of God. I John 2:15 tells us: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Another sign of spiritual danger is losing our first love for the Lord. God said to the church in Ephesus, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).

An additional sign of danger is when we allow sin to remain in our lives. We are instructed to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). If we fail to notice and respond to these signs of danger in our lives, we will become the servants of sin, vulnerable to further attacks of Satan. Thus, we are warned in I Peter 5:8:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

The reward of watching and praying is avoiding destructive temptations and the resulting slavery to sins and addictions. (See Romans 6.) Let's realize the seriousness of watching for spiritual dangers in our lives and ask God to deliver us from them.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard