Take Heed! Watch And Pray!
By Lois J. Stucky
Words such as "take heed!" and "watch and pray!" came from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and He never spoke vain words, but only what the Father told Him to speak (John 12:49-50). Let us indeed "take heed!"
One of the matters our Lord Jesus Christ would have us be watchful about is that our love for God and for others not grow cold. The Lord Jesus warned that "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). These words were spoken to His followers. This includes us who follow Him in this hour, and perhaps especially ought we, His followers in this hour, take these words to heart. Is there not abounding iniquity today that was scarcely heard about a generation ago or even in the earlier years of our life? God further warns us in His Word through the Apostle Paul writing to Timothy that "…in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…" and "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:1-2, 4). Does not this describe society today? We must keep our guard up against these enticing and ever-present temptations which we can hardly avoid facing, even though a dedicated Christian. By God’s grace, let us not yield to temptation!
God tells us in His Word to set our affections on things above (Col. 3:2). This takes purposeful, intentional effort. God’s Word also instructs us not only to be filled with the Holy Spirit who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, but to be "…speaking to [ourselves] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:18-19). Blessed are those of us who hold in our minds a treasury of hymns expressing our love and devotion to God, and sing them from the depths of our being, whether singing to ourselves or with a congregation.
But precious as is the expression of our love to the Lord in thoughts and words, the love to which we are called goes beyond sweet sentiment. Agape love is borne out in practical obedience. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments," the Lord Jesus said. "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me..." (John 14:23).
True love issues from the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Oh, the privilege of doing what we do for Christ from the impulses and supply of divine love flowing out from our innermost being where the Spirit dwells! Often we are told in God’s Word that the Lord Jesus ministered out of "compassion" – sympathy, tender mercy and loving-kindness.
Recall stories of the early missionaries and the extreme hardships they suffered for the love of God and souls. Try to keep in touch, too, with the stories of little-known and unsung heroes and heroines of the Christian faith today who live in countries where it is very risky to live and witness for Christ, but they cannot be silent because God’s love possesses their hearts. Some such saints suffering for Christ have been Christians themselves only a short time. Their hearts are aflame with the fervor of first love. They count not their lives dear to themselves. How unlike the world! How like the Lord Jesus! What an example they set for us! They deserve our supporting prayers!
God’s Word speaks of those who "…love His [Christ’s] appearing," His coming again (2 Tim. 1:8). Do not bypass the article on the page following this one! It alerts us to be loving and preparing for the day of Christ’s coming. "Take heed!" "Watch and pray!" and obey the least thing God asks us to do to be ready and to help others be ready for that great day! God has work of eternal value for us to be doing. Blessed are those found so doing when Christ returns!