We are in the last days. I know, you have heard that many times: your parents, teachers, and ministers are continually telling you that. Why are they trying to instill that thought into the forefront of your mind? Because the last days are upon us, and we are called to watch, to be vigilant, sober, and on the alert. The reason that it is so imperative for us to be on our guard is this: the devil is working right now, harder than ever before, trying to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. How is he doing that? The devil is far wiser than to attack us where we are on guard. He attacks us wherever and whenever we let our guard down. He lures us into a false sense of security. He lulls us to sleep.
I Thess. 5:2 & 3a puts it this way, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” The devil wants nothing more than for us to let down our guard and to quit watching.
The Bible in many places speaks of watchmen on the walls. In that day they built huge walls around their cities. These walls kept the roving bands of the enemy away from the people. They kept the people safe. In order to insure the enemy did not climb or break down the walls, watchmen, or guards, were placed on the top of the wall. It was their duty to insure the residents of the city that they dwelt in peace and safety, and to warn the people when danger approached. The very same thing is true today in a spiritual sense. The elders of our churches represent those watchmen. They watch over the church, to insure that no false doctrine creeps in among the congregation. This is not, however, exclusively the elders’ calling. Each and every one of God’s people must be a watchman. We are watchmen over our lives. We are responsible for seeing that the enemy doesn’t creep into our own lives. The enemy is the devil and our own sinful flesh. The enemy uses many different forms. He is very tricky, or deceitful. Sometimes he comes to us through our friends, or through peer pressure, urging us to compromise the principles we believe in. If that is the case, part of our job as watchmen is to warn our friends that they have let the enemy into their city. A watchman must speak out when he sees something wrong. He must not keep silence when he sees the enemy within the city. He must warn the residents, lest they be caught unawares. Even so, we must urge our friends to watch.
What are we looking for when we watch? We are looking for warning signs that the devil is creeping into our lives. The devil is continually tempting us. Sometimes he is open, and we know it is he. This may come in the form of having your friends ask you to go to a movie or a bar with them. Don’t forget, that is Satan working on you. He is trying to make you forget that these are the last days and that we are to watch. The devil takes whatever our sinful nature wants to do and attacks us there again and again.
Usually the devil will not attack where we are watching. He knows that where we are watching and on guard, he will have difficulty entering our lives. The problem is, that when we watch one area in our lives, he attacks us somewhere else. The devil usually attacks where we are weakest. If we desire friends, he may attack through our friends. If we can be made to sin in our pursuit of material possessions, he will see to it that we have these items readily available. An impossible enemy to battle with? Sometimes it seems that way. Our sins overwhelm us and our souls are troubled. Are we really watching and guarding against the devil?
How should we be watching? In two words: THE BIBLE. God’s Word as He has revealed it to us through the preaching, through catechism, through our education, and even through the world around us. Bring your thoughts and questions to the Lord in prayer continually. God will surely reveal to us what is of Him and what is of the devil. God, through the blood of Christ, will forgive us when we stumble. In Him we have the assurance of victory. In this lifetime we have that victory only in a very small way; but in the glory to come, how great and final that victory will be!
Sometimes the devil chips away at our defenses little by little; so slowly and subtly that we can scarcely recognize it as such. He creeps into our lives, through our sinful flesh, almost unawares. He attacks us where and when we are weakest. Sharpen your watch! Stand fast against this wily adversary. Watch with all your heart and soul. Through our Lord Jesus Christ we will have the victory. He is our strength and fortress. In Him we trust. WATCH.