Watching is not as easy as using your eyes. F.W. Boreham reminds us of something that Ruskin wrote –
“A cat may look at a king but never see the king!”
A cat cannot discern that the chair upon which the one it is looking at is actually a throne. A cat cannot tell what the regal robes with ermine trimmings denote. A cat cannot find any significance in the bejewelled hat of gold and velvet which the person in front of it is donning. A cat cannot see that certain things are indicators or symbols of something else.
Watching is not merely a matter of looking. To “see” something is to understand or appreciate something. After reading this, you may aptly say, “Ah, I see.” Or, if I have failed to convey to you what I am hoping you will gain, you may say, “I can’t see what you’re saying.” When a soldier stands watch, they are expected to not merely look out, but to watch out – in the sense that they are expected to see the movement of shadows, shrubs, objects, and understand that the enemy is stealthily approaching.
Watching requires seeing, interpreting and understanding.
It is possible to look at the shortest book in the Bible and fail to see it, which is ironic because it is the book which commands us to watch.
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
Second John 8
The Apostle John wrote his pastoral epistle to the churches of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) with the concern that some of these believers were being beguiled into deception and ran the risk of losing their full reward. We know that our salvation is an extravagant reward from God, but it is not the end of His rewards for His people. It is His heart for us to watch ourselves so that we may not lose our full reward. Too many followers of Christ have been deceived into compromise and have thus jeopardised their full reward.
¶ Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Second Corinthians 7:1
Perhaps we each need to go beyond looking at God’s Word, and as we read it, see God’s heart and then gaze with understanding into the window it opens to our own soul. If we could really see the schemes, plots, traps, and snares that our ruthless Enemy uses to attempt to hinder us from receiving our full reward, we may be a little more motivated to keep watch over our soul and our work for the Lord with a little more vigilance.