Watched pot boils eventually

Leonard Lauriault

An old saying goes something like “A watched pot never boils,” indicating that time seems to go by slow as a snail when we’re expecting something to happen. The intended advice is to just find something else to occupy our time while we wait.

Once, I was waiting for a pot of milk to boil as directed by the recipe. It was taking forever so I turned my back to put away some dishes or something and I almost immediately heard the sound of sizzling milk. The boiling stopped almost as soon as I lifted the pan from the burner, but in the hasty process, more milk was spilled — hot milk that got on the pot handle very nearly scalded my hand. What a mess!

That’s how it is with our lives. Sin (or rather Satan) is always lurking below the surface ready to erupt whenever we let our guard down, hoping that we cannot act fast enough or at all to keep from being burned or that we’ll react rashly and cause greater problems (1 Peter 5: 8). While we’re not to cry over spilled milk, we should be very concerned about the long-lasting damage that can happen when we turn away from focusing on God and don’t pay attention to Satan’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 2: 1-3; 3: 12-14; 12: 2, 3). Jesus told us to watch and pray to keep from falling into temptation (Matthew 26: 41). Prayer is a good activity whenever we have time on our hands because “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and we are to pray continuously (2 Thessalonians 3: 11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 14-18). It’s okay to multitask and do other things while we pray, but we’re still to keep watch over areas in our life that can boil over.

While we’re to watch out for temptation in general, accepting God’s way out, some specific areas needing extra attention are mentioned in the Bible, including pride (1 Corinthians 10: 12, 13; Proverbs 16: 18). Inappropriate pride comes from anxiety – lack of proper self-esteem. God will help us have an appropriate pride if we’ll let him because he exalts the humble (1 Peter 5: 5-7).

Another area the Bible specifically mentions that we should watch with God’s help is our speech (James 3: 2-12; 1: 19, 20; Psalm 141: 3). Speech is a reflection of our inner self and if we’ve controlled our speech, we’re well on our way to controlling our inner self, although we’ll never be totally successful in that this side of heaven (Matthew 15: 18, 19; Romans 7: 15-15: 1 John 3: 2, 3).

One good thing we’re to watch for is Jesus’ return (2 Timothy 4: 7, 8; Titus 2: 11-14). We can leave that in God’s hands while we turn our attention to serving him on earth (Matthew 24: 36-51; Luke 12: 35-40; Micah 7: 7).

Are you watching for Jesus’ return, serving him as you can and watching and praying to avoid temptation and destruction by Satan?

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at: