Volume. XXXiii, No. 26
Sunday, 23 December 2018


From the Pastors Heart: How to be Godly (Part 7)


We have learnt from the previous article that watching over ourselves is necessary for a godly life, without which we will fall into sin and temptations and be devoured by Satan, who is roaming around like a roaring lion.  Probably “carelessness” is the opposite of watchfulness.  If watchfulness helps us grow in godliness, carelessness chases it away. 

Watchfulness is a necessity

Paul commands Timothy to be watchful in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”  We see that this command implies the necessity of watchfulness, and continuance and constancy of watchfulness “in all things.”  “In all” must include all times, places, persons, and circumstances.  It does not permit us to be careless in any time at any place with anybody in any given circumstances at all.  Probably, that is the meaning of what Psalm 101:2 says, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”  There is a warning against carelessness in Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  Keeping our hearts and guard our lips are the important elements in our watchfulness. 

When we fail to be watchful, we make many mistakes in our lives and do many undesirable things against our profession of faith.  To cover them up, or to comfort the wounded conscience, we say that after all we are not perfect, we have infirmities, or we are weak in nature.  Though there are certain degrees of truth in this, we oftentimes willfully fulfill the desires of our hearts and indulge sinful lusts.  In other words, we refuse to be watchful.  When we fail to be watchful, we also fail to understand the necessity of watchfulness by giving such reasons as (1) watchfulness brings us into legalistic bondage and (2) watchfulness denies and deprives us of our liberty.  We think that our liberty should allow us to do anything we desire, if we deem it right or are allowed to do it.  However, liberty does not mean freedom to do anything without boundaries.  Liberty comes with accountability, and there is no freedom without boundaries.  In fact, a due looking to our ways is the safety of our life. 

By watchfulness, God grants us to find and enjoy a manner of living in this life that is different than the life that the world may try to convince us.  Watchfulness will lead us to Godward and heavenward life, which will enable us to live beyond present circumstances. 

When we neglect watchfulness

We have a clear example of the outcome of failing in watchfulness.  The disciples failed to watch and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They fell into temptations to deny the Lord or to run away from Him, when the Lord was arrested and taken to Calvary.  Negligent believers are not in a well-ordered and settled course of life.  Instead, they live in false security, and do not follow good orders of Biblical principles.  Probably, another example we can find is Gehazi (2 Kings 5:25), who failed to watch his heart and to rule over his greed.  Though he was a servant of one of the best prophets in the Bible, he fell into his curses.  There are many professing Christians whose character, manners of life, and actions are not commendable at all.  It is all because they have neglected watchfulness in their Christian life.  When we fail to be watchful, we will easily stumble over trials and temptations of the world.  Daniel was watchful in the land of Babylon, and Joseph in Egypt.  Think of King Saul who knew the knowledge of God but failed to watch his life and heart. Common experiences of all who failed to be watchful are fear and sorrow in life. 

 Even the best people could fail to be watchful and suffer its consequences.  Consider Eve in 1 Timothy 2:14, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”  Though Eve lived in perfect circumstances and environment, yet she transgressed God’s command, because she was not watchful.  King David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wrote so many psalms in which he praised the Lord for His truths and attributes.  However, we know what happened when he failed to be armed with a watchful heart when he walked on the roof of his palace (2 Samuel 11:2).   David was wise, brave, and spiritual, but he still fell into sin.  He was not watchful in his ways and fell into the devil’s trap.  In such a time, he became unfaithful to the Lord and transgressed the law of God. 

Why we purpose to be watchful

It is about a reason why we should purpose be watchful.  I think that there is no one who intentionally and willfully rejects this lesson of Christian duty, “be watchful.”  But, we still fail to be watchful.  What does it imply, and what lesson can we learn from it?  How can we be watchful Christians?  We must purpose to be watchful.  The reason why we fail to be watchful is because we do not grow into watchfulness naturally and automatically.  When we do not purpose to grow in watchfulness, we will never grow in godliness.  When we study a difficult course, we must purpose to spend time to study and to do well.  When I went to the U.S. to study, I was discouraged very much because I could not understand the lectures because of serious language deficiencies.  At times, I was not sure if I could complete my studies.  When I took American Literature, German, Hebrew and Greek, with other subjects in the same semester, I thought I was going to fail and die soon.  I purposed to study with my best and finally finished the course.  If I have not purposed to study, I could not finish the course.  Godliness is the same.  Watchfulness is the same.  When we recognize the lack of watchfulness, we must purpose to be watchful.  Do you purpose to be godly, watchful?  I have seen many professing believers who have not grown into godliness. 

 

How we can be watchful

If we know that we must purpose to be watchful, we also need to know how to frame our minds to be watchful.  Knowing its necessity is one thing, and attaining to it is another.  (1) We must fight against the lust of the flesh.  We should never allow sinful lusts to be free in our lives.  We should wean ourselves from anything that promotes evil desires.  It is our battle not to walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.  (2) We must be able to identify the problem areas and dangers of them, so that we are aware of our vulnerability to them.  By being watchful, we will be able to discern what we should avoid.  In order to discern, we need knowledge of good and bad according to the divine truths of God.  (3) We must pray with watchfulness.  Prayer quickens watchfulness, and by being watchful we pray more.  (4) We must keep watching until we are acquainted with the watchful life.  It is because watchfulness becomes loose when we count watchfulness too strict without acquainting ourselves with the watchful life first.  Again, watchfulness is closely related to our understanding of proper boundaries in Christian living.  (5) We must learn to be watchful.  (a) Unless we are taught by God’s Word, we cannot please God and be wary and watchful.  God’s Word is holy and truthful, without which knowledge, we cannot know of good and bad from God’s point of view.  (b) Self-discipline is necessary for watchfulness.  Evil desires are deeply rooted within us, and the power of evil desires must be mortified.  (c) Shame and hypocrisy keep us from occupying ourselves in holy and spiritual duties.  We must fight them.  (d) We should not rationalize and justify our sinful desires and evil actions.  Our sinful nature and the devil, our enemy, tempt us to dissuade us.  Therefore, we need to be skillful in knowing all inordinate lusts and diligent to observe and prevent and avoid them.  (e) We ought to know that sanctification is the will of God towards us.  (f) We should keep our hearts carefully and always.  It is also important for us to nurture our minds with good things.  Philippians 4:8 says, “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 on these things.”   (f) Watchfulness does not have anything to do with the observances of men, but is obedience to the commandments of God.  (g) Watchfulness has to be a way of life.  (h) We must pay attention to our infirmities that have troubled us the most, while being watchful.  Godly and spiritual forefathers of faith have openly confessed their weaknesses and infirmities in particular areas.  By which they were more vigilant against those weak areas than others.  They felt their depravity, shame, and danger.  They acknowledged their sins to God, fought against their sins, and daily prayed to God against them.  They tried to avoid sins, and refused to nourish sins.  They never reasoned and justified their infirmities but repented and tried to mortify them. 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Session wishes all worshippers a Blessed Christmas.
  • Christmas Fellowship Lunch at 12pm, following the Christmas Worship Service. Contributors please bring your food items to the Fellowship Hall by 9:40am so that we can all attend Christmas Service on time.
  • Watchnight Service - All are encouraged to attend. Please come and share your testimony about what God has done in your life this year.
  • Church theme for 2019 is “Train Yourself for Godliness” from 1 Timothy 4:7.
  • Hope Bookshop is selling Christmas cards: $2 each. Buy 5, get 1 free.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: YAF. Next week: VFG.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities this past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • IF Christmas Carolling

 

Prayer

  • God’s comfort in grief: Dn Wai Kin Wong & family.
  • Wisdom for pulpit committee: New pastor for our church.
  • Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & family, Filadelfia B-P Church; sick orphans (Batam).

 

 

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063