Ephesians 5:15-17, NIV
“Be very careful, then, how you live, not unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Six months ago I discovered a very small amount of water in the sink unit cupboard. I wiped it up and forgot all about it until five months later I noticed water squelching through the cement joining the ceramic tiles on the kitchen floor. Needless to say I was full of regret. I had neglected a small thing which grew to the extent things became chaotic. For six weeks noisy dryers were operating, the kitchen floor had to be taken up, new plumbing put in and cupboards replaced. I lived to regret my neglect.
The Bible exhorts us over 70 times to be careful. In most instances the exhortation is with regard to how we live our lives in relationship with God. It also warns us of things we definitely must not neglect if we are to please God and live in true relationship with Him. Never count anything small with God, because, if we neglect now a seemingly little thing in our relationship with Him, we will certainly regret it later. To be neglectful is to be careless; it can lead to circumstances we would never welcome.
Firstly we are told not to neglect our salvation, but rather to work it out in spiritual growth and development (Hebrews 2:3 or Philippians 2:12). Salvation is a free gift of grace. It is life eternal to be lived out in the here and now, and enjoyed through eternity, but it not an insurance policy. Salvation is deliverance from sin and its power. To work it out here and now is to live in spontaneous obedience to Jesus as overcomers, and to be involved in the advance of His kingdom.
Secondly the Bible warns us not to neglect God’s Word (Psalm 119:16), but to hide it in our hearts. The word of God is alive. It fits into every situation of life. In extreme, desperate situations the Holy Spirit recalls to us the Word of God, which we are told to hide in our hearts. It becomes to us strength, comfort, safety, peace, assuring us of the Divine Presence, bringing assurance, trust and confidence, knowing that we are safe and sheltered in the shadow of the Almighty, whatever is going on around us.
Thirdly, we are not to neglect meeting with other believers (Hebrews 10:25). The love, concern, friendship and fellowship of other believers are very precious. Isolation and individualism are not part of biblical Christianity, for we belong to the family of God and we all have one Father. We are exhorted to give to one another, to love, comfort and care, but when you are the recipient of such tender care and concern from your fellow believers you are blessed indeed. God uses them to bring His heart of compassion to you. You know that when they say they will pray they do pray and God always answers prayer.
Finally, we are clearly told not to neglect the spiritual gift(s) we have been given (1 Timothy 4:14). Every believer has at least one definite spiritual gift. Because it is a gift from the Holy Spirit it is certainly going to be fruitful when He opens the door for us to use it. These gifts are gifts of grace – undeserved and unearned. If you don’t recognise your gift ask God to show you what it is and pray that He will lead you into situations where you use it for His glory. If we neglect our gift, on the day when we stand before Him we will certainly regret this, because we will lose our reward.
What we all need today is a passionate love for Jesus, which will deliver us from neglecting the precious things on His heart. Passionate love will put within our hearts the one desire to put Jesus first, and to be abandoned to His will and His ways. To know this blessedness our spirits must be fed from the hidden springs of life-giving water, which are found when we are rooted and grounded in Christ.
Prayer: Father, thank You for calling me to be Your child. Please put within my heart a passionate love for Jesus that will lead me into paths of obedience to Him. I choose to hide Your Word in my heart, and to live day by day in the light of Your presence. By Your grace, may I never neglect or be careless about the things that are precious to You. Amen.