Where the soldier is placed, there he stands and must neither stir nor sleep till he is discharged. When Christ comes, only that soul whom He finds so doing shall have His blessing.
Why is Christ so insistent that His soldiers remain on alert? Because Satan’s actions demand it. Satan’s advantage is great when he catches our graces napping. When the devil found Christ so ready to repel his temptation, he soon had enough. It is said, “He departed… for a season” (Luke 4:13). But in his shameful retreat it seems he comforted himself with the hopes of surprising Christ unawares at another time more advantageous to his design. And we do find him coming again at the most likely time to have had his way– but only if his enemy had been man and not God (Matthew 27:42).
Now if this bold tempter watched Christ so closely, does it not seem likely he will scout you, too, hoping sooner or later to find your graces slumbering? What he misses now by your watchfulness he may gain later by your negligence. In fact, he hopes you will push yourself to exhaustion with continual duty. What fiendish pleasure he would derive from turning the tables on your sincere efforts for Christ. “Surely,” says Satan when he sees a fervent Christian, “this will not last long.” When he finds him most sensitive to the Spirit and scrupulous in conduct, he says, “This is but for a while; he cannot keep it up for long. Soon he will unbend his bow and unbuckle his armor, and then I will have at him.” But this can never happen as long as we are continually applying to God for our strength.
Satan is not the only pitfall; the nature of our graces makes diligence essential. If not watched closely, they will play the truant. And a soul long absent from the school of obedience will not be eager to return and take up his old assignments.