Since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1 NIV)
For those who, like the New Testament writers, have a real burden and sense of responsibility for the spiritual life of God's people, one of the most heart-breaking things is the way in which so many who gave promise of going right on with the Lord are caught in some side-track and turn to something other or less than He meant for them. Not necessarily to sin or to the world, but to something which, while it brings them a great deal of gratification for a time, eventually proves to be a diversion resulting in arrested spiritual growth, and they are found in a backwater, a cul-de-sac, occupied with an alternative to "the whole counsel of God." Their "new discovery," or "light," or "guidance," as they speak of it, by reason of the let-up of some tension, solution to some problems, promise of release into self-realization, and escape from pressure, when the novelty and glamor have worn off is found to have been "deceitful waters," producing Jericho's fruits which fall before they are ripe....
The peril or snare will be
cunningly and ingeniously adapted to the 'prey.' What would capture some would
make no appeal to others. The most spiritual will be presented with what
appears to be most spiritual. Our particular temperament will be our
peculiar danger. We shall have to, ever and always, be governed by principle,
and not by feelings, preferences, arguments, or natural appeal. Intellectual
palliatives, emotional ecstasies, activity-gratifications must be suspected or
challenged. The one question must be paramount – Where does this lead? Does it
essentially and intrinsically relate to the one supreme purpose of God?