Staying Watchfully by the Right Things
ALL well-informed dedicated Christians know that Armageddon is drawing on apace. Satan knows he has but a short period of time to turn all men away from Jehovah God. While fully awake and furiously active himself, he is out to lull true Christians to sleep even as he has lulled to sleep the nominal Christians of Christendom. Because of this there is stronger reason than ever for us to take to heart Paul’s counsel, first given to Timothy: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Tim. 4:16.*
What are these right things by which we are to be staying watchfully? Study of God’s Word, individually and with our brothers at the service center and the Kingdom Hall; sharing in all features of the Kingdom ministry at every opportunity, not overlooking incidental witnessing; keeping ourselves unspotted from the world’s political schemes and moral filth; and being vigilant with a view to prayer, ever alert to the precious privilege of communing with our heavenly Father.
However, it is one thing to know these things and quite another to live by them. To this end we need to remind ourselves continually of Scriptural examples and admonition. Jesus certainly set the perfect example for us in staying by the right things. He preached incessantly and taught diligently. He called out others to follow his footsteps.
One of the chief obstacles to our following Jesus in staying by the right things is the snare of materialism. That is why Jesus repeatedly warned us against it. Thus in his “sermon on the mount” he counseled us not to be anxious about tomorrow or about what we will eat and wear but to keep on seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. Jesus gave like admonition in his illustration of the sower, showing that some seed failed to bring forth fruit because of the “anxieties and wealth and pleasures of this life.” And especially should we take to heart Jesus’ warning regarding our day: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare.”—Matt. 6:31-34; Luke 8:14; 21:34, 35.
The apostle Paul faithfully imitated Jesus in both word and deed. He stayed faithfully by the right things as both the record of the book of Acts and Paul’s own letters so clearly show. In counseling others to do the same he pointed out that “no man serving as a soldier involves himself in the commercial businesses of life, in order that he may meet the approval of the one who enrolled him as a soldier.” Yes, how can we stay by the right things if we needlessly involve ourselves in commercial pursuits?—2 Tim. 2:4.
To stay by these things we also need to be watchful, which need Jesus likewise repeatedly stressed: “Keep on the watch and praying.” “Keep looking, keep awake, . . . keep on the watch.” “Happy are those slaves whom the master on arriving finds watching!”—Matt. 26:41; Mark 13:33-35; Luke 12:37.
So let us not be like Christendom, which is slumbering in regard to the meaning of the times, but rather let us be like the early Christians who lost no time fleeing Jerusalem upon seeing the Roman armies withdraw A.D. 66. Staying watchfully by the right things, we too will survive the destruction impending to gain everlasting salvation in Jehovah’s new world.
For details see The Watchtower, January 1, 1959.