2003-11-04 - Watchfulness
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Watchfulness is a common concept in the church today. However, the meaning today, in general, has taken on a slightly different meaning than it has historically. Watchfulness now seems to mean looking up to the sky and waiting for Jesus to come. Watchfulness seems to mean leaving some video's and books on the rapture behind for those who don't get raptured. This has not been the meaning of watchfulness throughout the majority of the history of the Christian church. This might signify watchfulness today, but even 100 years ago such a mindset was not "being watchful." Being watchful, in the past, was always much more personal.
I don't want you to read the above thinking that I am putting those practices down or those who engage in them. Rather, I would like to suggest, for consideration, that watchfulness really means vigilance or Christian diligence. Scripture tells us we are soldiers here while we live. If there were no enemy we would have no need to be watchful. However, as the above verse tells us, there is an enemy who is seeking to devour us. It doesn't matter if we are talking about when we are working, retired, praying, or going for a walk. There is an enemy who seeks to devour us. Our words, affections, thoughts, workings, and desires are all areas for attack.
This is why we must be watchful. This is why we must be vigilant. We must keep in mind that we are constantly being assailed. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Watchfulness must, therefore, be a major feature of our lives. We are in a struggle. We must know the temptations to which we are most liable, and that is where the enemy will strike. It is really like a war. Our enemy seeks to strike where we are least able to defend. 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminds us to be "steadfast," and "Immovable," always going strong in God's work. Let's all admit that this is tough when we are also at war. This is why we need to be watchful, vigilant, and diligent in the fight against our enemy.
Remember in Scripture (Matthew 26:56), when Christ was tempted that all around Him fled? If we do not remember that we are living in the enemies country and all our temptations are known to him, we are setting ourselves up to lose the war. It is analogous to the current war in Iraq. The war, the say, is over, but the battle goes on among those who remain there. So it is with us. The war is over and Christ has conquered, but the battle goes on with us. We must be watchful. We must be ever vigilant. It is good to keep in mind that we are in the enemy's country. Until the battle is over, and victory gained, we must be both on the offense and defense. We must be watchful. We have the armor of God as a gift around us (Ephesians 6:11, 13), but that does not mean that we can ever lag in watchfulness
Soli Deo Gloria,