Tuesday 22 October 2013


When we spend a lot of time watching, we tend to forget to be watchful. What does it mean to be watchful?

I love to watch movies that have a delightful mix of drama, love, action and history such as “Gladiator” and “The Last of the Mohicans”.


Millions 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 fashion.

We 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 this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” William Henry Davies.

Not that these habits are wrong in themselves (1 Corinthians 6:12). But don’t you think we spend too much time watchingmuch of which is triviain a highly spectator-oriented world?

But there is a different kind of ‘keeping watch’. Jesus reminds us to watchful on several occasions.

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’s second 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" (Luke 21:36).

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, spiritually-speaking.

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 come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you” (Revelation 3:2-3).

Similarly, 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 are lukewarmneither hot nor coldI 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 3:15-17, 19).

Don’t you think that being spiritually bankrupt—and without realising itis the ultimate tragedy? 

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.

And 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.

“The 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).

“Keep 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” (1Timothy 4:16). 

Unless we are aware of our true spiritual state, we cannot change. When was the last time we examined our lives?

“Examine 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.

Like 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.

For 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

Finally 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.

Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).

When is self-examination helpful and when it is not?


Be aware, be warned. It’s already here. We should wise up by preparing ourselves against deception. Deception is a prominent feature during these end times.


Shouldn't we get rid of sin consciousness in our lives?


It all starts with the eye, the gateway which allows evil to creep surreptitiously into the mind.



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