When we spend a lot of
time watching, we tend to forget to be watchful. What does it mean to be watchful?
love to watch movies that have a delightful mix of drama, love, action and
history such as “Gladiator” and “The Last of the Mohicans”.
all over the world love to watch a ball being dribbled and kicked around in a
stadium. Some are bird watchers while others watch the latest trends in
all like to watch sensational and exciting videos on YouTube. The latest images
our friends share on Facebook captivate us. At times, we love to watch the
world go by as we enjoy a cuppa with our friends.
“What is thislife if,full of care,we have no time to stand and stare.”
— William Henry Davies.
that these habits are wrong in themselves (1 Corinthians 6:12). But don’t you
think we spend too much time watching—much of which is trivia—in a
highly spectator-oriented world?
there is a different kind of ‘keeping watch’. Jesus reminds us to watchful on
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
We have to be prepared for Christ’ssecond
coming: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is
about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man"
The parable of the ten
virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) warns us to be numbered among the wise virgins
who—ever watchful of the
bridegroom’s return—had oil in their lamps.
Watching does not
imply twiddling our thumbs as we gaze towards the heavens. It implies a God-consciousness in our lives,
not just doing our own thing.
The ones who were
eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage in the days of Noah
(before the flood) had clearly excluded God in their lives. They were swept
away when the great deluge came. And Jesus warns us not to have that same
spirit of reckless abandon so
that we won’t be caught off guard when He returns.
All these words have a similar connotation: Be
watchful; be alert; be vigilant; wake up. They remind us to be on our toes,
Tragedy strikes when we think we are spiritually
in tip-top condition but, in fact, we are not. Such was the case of the church
in Sardis. The angel’s
message for this church was a warning: “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have
not found your works complete in the sight of my God.Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up,I will comelike a thief,
and you will not know at what hour I will come against you” (Revelation 3:2-3).
the angel warned the church in Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are
neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you
hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You
say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not
realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Revelation
you think that being spiritually bankrupt—and without realising it—is the
Jesus warned of the danger of spiritual blindness and arrogance in the Parable of
the tax collector and the Pharisee (Luke 18:10-14). The Pharisee was confident
in his own righteousness and looked down on the tax collector who had humbled
himself before God, asking for mercy.
that brings us to the topic of self-examination. Watch
out for sins such as pride, self-sufficiency, immorality, love of money,
fame, and power.
unexamined life is not worth living” — Socrates.
Are we watchful concerning what we view (Psalm 101:3) and think
about (Philippians 4:8)? Have we examined the purity of our affections? “Above all else, guard your affections. For
they influence everything else in your life” (Proverbs 4:23).
a close watch on how you
live and on your teaching. Stay true to
what is right because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”
we are aware of our true spiritual state, we cannot change. When was the last
time we examined our lives?
yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test
yourselves.Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if
not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
We also need to be aware
of wiles of satan. “Stay alert! Watch out
for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking
for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Through false teaching and false ‘signs
and wonders’, satan utilises lies and deception to accomplish his purposes.
Ezekiel, we are called to be watchmen who warn others of danger and the need to repent (Ezekiel
33: 7-9). But, to be credible, we need to be watchful as to how we live. Our
lives should stand for integrity before a watching world.
those of us who are leaders, we need to watch
our conduct as shepherds. Have we fed and loved the
sheep placed under our care (Ezekiel 34: 3-4)? http://bit.ly/1fX66ru
we need to watch our conscience. If we reject the voice of our conscience,
our faith will be shipwrecked (1 Timothy 1:19).
By acknowledging our spiritual poverty like the
tax collector above, by realising that we have fallen short of God’s standards
like the church at Sardis and Laodicea,
we are taking the first step towards spiritual restoration.
are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).
SELF-EXAMINATION: HELP OR HINDRANCE? When
is self-examination helpful and when it is not?