The need for watchfulness in our lives is very great. We may have very high thoughts and aspirations, and a real desire to live a beautiful and pure life, and yet may continually lapse in our duty through failing to be watchful over our conduct. Whatever may be our particular failings, we are likely to lapse into them if we are not continually on guard; it behooves us therefore to be always on the watch. Just as it is always necessary to keep a watch and look out when guiding a ship across the ocean so that she may avoid the rocks and quicksands that she must encounter in her voyage, so must we keep a constant watch over our conduct in order to avoid the temptation to fall into our particular failings, whatever they may be.
The Divine injunction "Watch and pray" it is never more necessary to obey than when we have determined to walk in the path of rectitude and to live the higher life—to seek only those things "which are above." I do not mean that we are to despise our surroundings and the work that lies at our hands waiting to be done; on the contrary "Whatsoever our hand findeth to do," that must be done" with our might." Faithful performance of every duty is a very necessary and beneficial part of the training toward the higher life, and this even if the duties are disagreeable ones, for there is a Divine Wisdom in what we may think to be the accidental circumstances of life, and these are in every case the actual things we need, and if we do not chafe at and try to avoid our responsibilities and duties, we shall find that firstly, they will soon prove to be less disagreeable than we had imagined, and secondly, those very conditions will ere long cease to exist, and they will be removed from our lives by an alteration of circumstances; but only of course when we have learnt the lessons they were intended to convey. Therefore we must learn to be extremely vigilant, lest the enemy within takes us unawares, for, especially in performing such duties as may naturally be irksome to us, we are very likely, unless extremely watchful, to fall again into our old failings.
The wisest way, I think, to bear our troubles, is to take without repining every situation of life, and to learn to stand alone as it were; l mean, not to be swayed by other people. Why should we allow another's anger or unkindness to make us angry or unkind? Is not that wrong in ourselves which we see is wrong in another? Perhaps even worse, for we know better, and it may be the other does not, and at least his actions we must not judge. But for ourselves, we have entered in at the "straight gate" and must "watch and pray lest we enter into temptation."