To waste time is to waste life. Many waste a tragic amount of time on the trivial, temporal and mundane, squandering countless hours vegetating in front of their TV or computer seeking only to be entertained.
The biblical commands to watch are often coupled with the command to pray. These admonitions are usually meant in the metaphorical and spiritual sense—to be vigilant, fully awake, aware and intently focused—“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing [i.e., intentions are good], but the flesh [mere human willpower] is weak’ ” (Matthew 26:41).
God wants His people to zealously read and study, as well as be well-informed regarding the major geopolitical, cultural and spiritual issues of our time. His message to end time Christians in Revelation emphasises this point: “Behold, I am coming as a thief [meaning suddenly and unexpectedly ]. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
In the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) Jesus also makes the same point. He concluded the parable by saying, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (March 25:13).
Our God-ordained responsibility is to watch and pray. At the same time, we must avoid the mistake of going to the other extreme—studying world affairs, history and even conspiracy theories more than the Bible. Without a sound understanding of God’s Word we won’t be prepared to provide biblically-based answers to people when asked (1 Peter 3:15).
God called the prophet Ezekiel to be a “watchman” to the ancient nation of Israel. He warned them to repent of their wicked ways or suffer dire consequences (Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:7). God also told Ezekiel that He would hold him accountable—that if he didn’t warn the people he would share the guilt for their suffering (Ezekiel 33:1-6). The Church has a similar commission in New Testament times.
Some scriptures about watching emphasize watching out for spiritual dangers and enemies such as “savage wolves,” deceivers who want to take advantage of God’s “flock” of followers (Acts 20:29-31). Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Staying aware of the powerful behind-the-scenes role of Satan enables us to understand the atrocious evil and madness of this world. It also enables us to “resist” them (James 4:7).
It’s spiritual watching coupled with prayer that gives one the strength to survive temptations and difficult situations. Being spiritually prepared should be our top priority.
The Good News Magazine