Posted by: missionventureministries | February 22, 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATCHING AND PRAYING – Luke 21:34-36

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36) 

Jesus is talking about watchfulness, about alertness, about being ready. The word “watch” speaks of the need to be attentive against sudden calamity. Therefore, people who profess to be Christians need to live in the light of the fact that the Lord could come at any moment and therefore we need to always be on guard, always be alert because His return is imminent – meaning likely to occur at any moment. 

Jesus lists three things that can weigh down our hearts; (1) carousing; (2) drunkenness; and (3) the cares of this life. The expression “that Day” refers to the end time and the day of the Lord’s return. “Watch therefore” means I am warning you. 

In Matthew 24:36-39 Jesus tells that: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” 

So here we see again an urgent understanding of the need to be ready. And in these verses Jesus warns that it will be like in the days of Noah. Just like Noah preached for 120 years and no one listened to him, in the same manner, people today are disinterested in hearing, preparing or watching for His second coming. 

We expect unbelievers to live indifferently and irresponsibly, and with no regard for the Lord; but certainly we don’t expect believers to take advantage of the absence of the Lord and behave in an irresponsible way. 

A true believer wants to live in such anticipation of the coming of Christ that their heart is not burdened down with sin. The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 2:28; “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 

Are you prepared to meet Jesus? Have you made the necessary spiritual preparation? The Bible tells us: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). 

Jesus tells us to: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man” (v. 36). 

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked His disciples to “stay here and watch with Me”, but when He returned, He found them asleep and caution them “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). 

We need to watch and pray so that God causes those who are faithful to be counted worthy. Our faith, our watching and praying, our confidence in Christ’s return is counted as righteousness. Just like when Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. 

Watching and praying cause the believer to escape the things coming to the earth and to stand justified before the Son of Man when He comes; ready to stand before the Lord; justified, ready to be fashioned like unto His glorious body (Philippians 3:21); ready to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29); and ready to “serve God day and night in His temple” (Revelation 7:15). 

So how can we do this? The weapon that Jesus used to overcome was prayer and God’s Word. Jesus’ disciples today must also watch and pray. We are easily distracted by this world, our fleshly needs and desires, and the schemes of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11). When we take our eyes from Jesus and His soon return, our values begin to shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:18–19). He warned us that we must be ready at any moment to stand before Him and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5; Matthew 12:36). 

“Watch and pray.” We can only remain faithful when we are devoted to prayer. In order to keep watch, we must pray for endurance and freedom from distractions (John 14:14). When we live with the eager expectation of the Lord’s return, we are more likely to keep our lives pure and our hearts ready to meet Him. 

Vigilance leads to holiness and we want to live with a clear conscious so that when the Lord comes we can meet Him with a clear and pure mind. It means that we need to have a constant connection with God and seek Him to have power to overcome all sin. 

Our need as Christians is to obey the command of Jesus to His disciples:  “Watch and pray…”  Be alert of any and all lurking temptations which can bring calamity, and find strength through prayer to stand before the Son of Man. 

Please remember that when we fail, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

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