Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20: 28-32
This Scripture in Acts cautions us to look after our souls so we do not get turned astray from the tasks we have been called to. The time we were to devote to God and His ministries evaporating before us as minor issues become main issues. We may even find the words that are diverting God’s people are coming from our own mouth. The answer to preventing this is provided by Paul in the form of commending us to God and the word of His grace, or, Scripture and prayer. There is no substitute for these. Though this passage directed primarily at church leaders, I think its lesson is pertinent to all who walk the narrow road. Here is an excerpt from a book I am reading:
GOD’S REQUIREMENT IS QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY
Some lessons we learn slowly, and one that we have found particularly difficult is that God wants quality of life from us rather than quantity of service, and that the latter is no substitute for the former. More important than all our preparation for ministry and our careful administration of church life is that we should live our lives for the will of God and reflect His Son’s grace and character in all our dealings with others.
The most powerful influence we can have upon people is example. The strength of our example – of which we ourselves are seldom, if ever, aware – comes from the reality and sincerity of our inner and secret life with God. Moral failures, which can so tragically ruin a man’s testimony and terminate his ministry, invariably stem from neglected daily fellowship with God. Walking daily in the light increases sensitivity to the first approaches of temptation and sin and strengthens our capacity to resist it by the power of the Spirit.
The continual presence of the Spirit with us is both a tremendous encouragement and a serious challenge. The encouragement is that He is always present to assist us; we have but to cry for His help and it is there. The challenge is that we can never deceive Him, much as we may deceive others and even ourselves. He knows the truth about our devotional life, whether it is our excuses or our deep heart-thirst after God. Paul’s final exhortations to the Ephesian elders began with the timely words, ‘Keep watch over yourselves’… (On Being a Pastor by Prime and Begg, pp.89-90)