"Watch Thou In All Things"
By Horatius Bonar
He that would be holy must watch. "Watch thou in all things" (2 Tim. 4:5). "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13). Let the sons of night sleep or stumble in the darkness, but let us who are of the day be sober, lest temptation overtake us and we be ensnared in the wiles of the devil or the seductions of this wanton world.
"Blessed is he that watcheth" (Rev. 16:15). In watching, too, let us witness a good confession (1 Tim. 6:13), not ashamed of Him whose badge we bear. Let us run a swift and patient race, "laying aside every weight and the sin [unbelief] which doth so easily beset us" (Heb. 12:1). Let us follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Tim. 6:11), having our eye upon the coming and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Christian must not trifle with sin under any pretense, least of all on the plea that he is not "under the law." The New Testament precepts and warnings are quite as explicit as the Old Testament Mosaic laws and much more numerous. He who thinks himself free from the latter will have no difficulty in persuading himself that he may set aside the former. And he who reckons it bondage to listen to the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" (Deut. 5:17), will think it equal bondage to hearken to the Pauline commandment, "Be not drunk with wine" (Eph. 5:18) or "Owe no man anything" (Rom. 13:8) or "Let him that stole steal no more" (Eph. 4:28).
As possessors of the Spirit of love, we must be loving, laying aside all malice and guile, and hypocrisies, and evil-speakings; discharging daily the one debt that is never to be paid (Rom. 13:8). For the indwelling Spirit is not idle nor barren, but produces fruit, divine fruit in human hearts, heavenly fruit on earthly soil, fruit which indicates its inner source, and tells of the glorious guest within; for "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
As those whose feet have found the rock, let us be stable, not carried about with every wind of doctrine; not vacillating nor undecided nor compromising. As those who have been delivered "from this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4), let us, like the saints of old, be separate from it, standing aloof from its gaieties, as men who have no time for such things, even were they harmless; keeping our raiment undefiled. Let us be suspicious of its foolish talking and jesting, jealous of its light literature, which "will eat as doth a canker" (2 Tim. 2:17), vitiating the taste, and enervating the soul.
Let us maintain unblunted the edge of our relish for prayer and fellowship with God, as the great preservative against the seductions of the age; for only intimacy with God can keep us from intimacy with the world. Let us not try to combine the novel and the Bible, the closet and the ballroom; nor attempt to serve two masters, to drink two cups (1 Cor. 10:21), to worship two gods, to enjoy two religions, to kneel at two altars.
Let us be on our guard against old self in every form, whether it be indolence, or temper, or coldness, or rudeness, or disobligingness, or slovenliness, or shabbiness, or covetousness, or flippancy, or self-conceit, or pride, or cunning, or obstinacy, or sourness, or levity, or foolishness, or love of pre-eminence. Let us cultivate a tender conscience, avoiding crotchets and conceits, yet watching against the commission of little sins, and the omission of little duties; redeeming the time, yet never in a hurry; calm, cheerful, frank, happy, genial, generous, unselfish, thoughtful of others.
And seeing we must protest against the world on so many important points, let us try to differ from it as little as possible on things indifferent, always showing love to those we meet with, however irreligious and unlovable, especially avoiding a contemptuous spirit or an air of superiority.
As disciples of Christ, let our discipleship be complete and consistent, our connection with Him exhibiting itself in conformity to His likeness, our life a comprehensive creed, our walk the embodiment of all that is honest and lovely and of good report. Christ’s truth sanctifies as well as liberates. His wisdom purifies as well as quickens. Let us beware of accepting the liberty without the holiness, the wisdom without the purity, the peace without the zeal and love.
Let us be true men, in the best sense of the word: true to ourselves; true to our new birth and our new name; true to the church of God; true to the indwelling Spirit; true to Christ and to the doctrine concerning Him; true to that Book of which He is the sum and the burden. Let us be true to truth, loving it not because it is pleasant, or picturesque, or ancient, but because it is true and divine. On it let us feed, with appetite newwhetted every day; so shall we add, not one but many cubits to our stature, growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– From God’s Way of Holiness.