Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.…
Every one who has made the least endeavour to live for God, will know by experience how many are the temptations which hinder his progress — temptations to acquiesce in some secondary end, to relax the strenuousness of labour, to follow the promptings of his own will to look earthwards. He will know, therefore, that the spirit of the Christian towards himself must be watchfulness — the most open-eyed and the most far-seeing.
I. HE WILL BE WATCHFUL OVER HIS AIM. There is, indeed, one aim for all men — to grow into the likeness of God; but this general aim becomes individualised for every man. The complete likeness, so to speak, belongs to humanity, and each man contributes his peculiar part to the whole. His resemblance to others lies in the completeness of his consecration; and his difference from others follows directly from it. Something he has, however insignificant it may seem, which belongs to himself alone; and this he brings to Christ in sine trust that it represents the fulfilment of his special office. Few temptations are more subtle and perilous than that which leads us to a restless search for some task which is more fruitful, as we think, or more conspicuous, or more attractive than that which lies ready before us; and it may happen that a self-chosen path will bring us renown and gratitude. But no splendid labours in other fields can supply the defect which must henceforth remain for ever through our faithlessness, if we leave undone just that tittle thing which God has prepared for us to do.
II. THE CHRISTIAN WILL BE WATCHFUL ALSO OVER HIS EFFORTS. It is as true that God gives nothing, as it is that He gives all. He accords to man the privilege of making his own that which He bestows freely, and He requires man to use the privilege. Nothing avails us which we have not actually appropriated. Life, indeed, brings to us the rudiments of spiritual teaching; but these need to be carefully studied, and, above all, to be brought into the light of our faith, not once only or twice, but as often as we are called to act or to judge; for though every attainment which is conformed to our ideal partakes of its eternal nobility, no solution of yesterday can be used directly to-day. Life, with all its questions, is new every morning. At the same time, the solution of yesterday leaves us in a favourable position to deal with the novel data. The Christian, then, will ask himself again and again whether his work costs him serious exertion; whether it exercises the fulness of his powers; whether he faces fresh duties as they arise with more and more strenuous endeavour because he uses the experience of the past to assist his thought, and not to supersede it; whether at every point he has gained the highest within his reach, or has at least refused to rest on a lower level; and whether he has taken to heart day by day the words of the psalm which from time immemorial has given the keynote of public worship: "To-day, if ye will hear His voice"; for that Voice is not, as we are too ready to believe, a tradition only, a sweet memorial enshrined in sacred books, but a living voice sounding in our ears with messages of truth, which earlier generations could not hear, and calls to action which we first are able to obey.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.