OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to Newsletter Articles||Next|
SET YOUR WATCH!
Victor M. Eskew
The title of this article does not refer to our setting our wristwatches or grandfather clocks. The word “watch” can involve “fixing attention” upon a certain thing. It can also involve the establishment of a “guard” at a certain place. Both of these thoughts are what we have in mind when we exhort you to “Set Your Watch!”
First, we must “set a watch” upon our hearts. Our heart is our mind. It is the control center of our thoughts, our wills, our emotions, our reasonings, and our conscience. The heart of man directs every aspect of his life. The wise penman of Proverbs proclaimed: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so it he…” (Prov. 23:7).
The heart of man is stimulated by hundreds of things every day. Many of these things proceed from Satan. If allowed to stay within our heart, they can bring forth evil fruits. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man…” (Matt. 15:19-20). It is necessary, therefore, to fix one’s attention upon his heart. It is essential that each of us establishes a guard around his heart to monitor that which is allowed to enter in. Solomon instructs us about this with these words: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The best place to start in guarding one’s heart is to follow the exhortation of the apostle Paul found in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things.”
Second, all of us must “set a watch” upon our spiritual life. A good spiritual life does not happen by accident or by chance. A faithful spiritual life is developed by strong intent. In other words, there has to be the “fixing of the mind” upon spirituality in order for it to come about. If this is not done, one can depart from the living God. Listen to the warning of the Hebrew scribe in this regard: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).
How does one guard his spiritual life? There are several answers to this question. 1) A person must saturate himself with the Word of God. Jesus said: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). 2) A person needs to maintain a fervent prayer life. Prayer keeps us in the presence of the Almighty God. It protects us from the forces of evil that would take us away from God. The psalmist understood this. He wrote: “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace for the battle that was against me: for there were many with me” (Ps. 55:16-18). 3) A person must make certain that he faithfully assembles with the saints in order to preserve his spirituality. When a limb of the body is separated from the body, it dies. The same happens when a member of the church cuts himself off from the local congregation. Strength and encouragement come when we meet with our brethren and worship at the throne of God. The inspired words of Hebrews 10:22-25 clearly teach this vital lesson. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Many other things can be done to increase one’s spirituality. These three are just “starters.”
Third, we must “set a watch” upon our homes. The home is an ancient and sacred institution. It was established by God long ago in the Garden of Eden. The home is supposed to be a place of companionship, security, holiness, and instruction in God’s Word. Satan understands the important role of the home and has sought numerous ways to destroy its positive influence.
Each couple who forms a new home must “set a watch” upon their home. To do this, faithfulness to one’s spouse must be a priority. No other person must be allowed to take the place of one’s mate. Solomon set forth this necessity as follows: “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well….Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Prov. 5:15, 18). In addition to faithfulness, the home must be regulated by the law of God. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Ps. 127:1). Lastly, the inhabitants of the home must make certain that the forces of evil are not allowed within the walls of the home. Just a little leaven can leaven the whole lump (Gal. 5:9). These evils can be such things are jealousy and anger. They can also include television programs and video games. Good homes are like good spiritual lives. They happen, not by accident, but by learning and labor. “Through wisdom is an house builded, and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov. 24:3-4).
Fourth, we all need to “set a watch” for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The return of Jesus has been promised in the Word of God. The angels made this declaration to the apostles at His ascension into heaven: “…This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”(Acts 1:11). When that day will come, no one knows (Matt. 24:36). Because almost two thousand years have passed, we may be lulled into thinking that many more years will pass before He comes. We must not be deceived. The reality is that Jesus could come today. Thus, the Scriptures command us to watch, “to fix the mind,” and to be prepared for His coming. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42). And again: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13). There is only one way to be adequately guarded when the Lord returns. One must be found doing. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46).
Yes, my friend, you need to set your watch. Don’t let your mind drift from the important things of life. Don’t fail to set a guard upon the things that really matter. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (I Cor. 16:13). “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (I Thess. 5:6). “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee” (Rev. 3:3).