Read 2 John 1.7-8.
I would like to discuss these things:
1. What it means to watch yourselves
2. The possibility of losing the gains made
3. The deceivers or deception
As I tried to understand what it means to “watch yourselves,” I scanned through other versions of the scriptures to see how they rendered it. As I did that, I got a fuller understanding. The Good News Bible says, “Be on your guard.” The Amplified Bible says, “Look to yourselves, take care.” As I was thinking about this, the Lord brought to mind Apostle Paul’s advice to the Ephesian church.
In Acts 20.28 he told them to pay careful attention to themselves. It means pay close attention to your life. Don’t live your life anyhow. Putting it all together, we can conclude that to watch yourself means
1. Being on your guard; taking care
2. To look to yourself because it is not everything that glitters that is gold
3. To pay careful attention to your life; don’t live your life anyhow; don’t take things for granted
This message is for every child of God irrespective of your age and your status in the church or the society. If you are not careful the devil can trick you. For you young men and women you don’t need me to tell you—it is something you must know.
The Apostle John goes further to state the reason why we must watch our lives. In 2 John 1.8 he says, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” One key reason he gives is so that we won’t lose the gains we have made. This means that it is possible for one to lose what he has worked for. Thus, we have to watch our lives to prevent that loss.
Don’t ever think you have arrived. It is possible to lose the gains you have made. It is possible to lose what you have received. It can be a ministry, marriage, job, or anything God has given you. If you are not careful, there is the possibility of losing it. God may have given you mighty ministry and gifts but the danger is that you may destroy it or throw it away so he says to watch.
I want to give examples from the scriptures to show that one can lose what he has.
Esau was the firstborn so the inheritance was due him but Hebrews 12.16-17 says something that is so saddening. Esau traded his birthright for one meal. All the things we see are temporal so we should not trade eternal things for them. May we never get to the point where we lose what God has given us for we may never get them back. Esau wanted his birthright back but it was too late for repentance.
God had blessed him with so much strength but one of his major problems was that he was not watchful with his life. He threw away is power, glory, and strength. There are many of us whom God has given great ministries and graces. I am here to tell you that that which is to come is even greater but if you don’t watch your life, you will be like Samson—you will lose it. Be watchful. It is not everything that presents itself as gold that is. There is the possibility of losing what you have.
This man was around Paul just like Luke and the others. In Colossians 4.14 Paul acknowledges him as part of his team. In Philemon 4.24 he is mentioned again as Paul’s co-worker. But in 2 Timothy 4.10 something bad happened. He deserted Paul and went to Thessalonica. People of God, no one has arrived. We don’t know what happened to Demas but you can imagine. Watch your lives. Take heed and take care for there is the possibility of losing the gains you have made.
The good example of Naboth
So, what should we do? We must behave like Naboth. He was a man who was not ready to throw away the inheritance he had been given. The devil is always presenting something “better” but he has nothing better to offer. Initially you might think you are gaining but there is a way that seems right to man but the end is destruction.
I am praying in the name of Jesus that the spirit of Naboth will come upon us so we will say “God forbid” to the offers of the enemy. I am not too old and I am not too young either. I have seen people who did not take care of the salvation God had given them and they threw it away. There is the possibility of losing your salvation and your gift and your ministry.
When I meet you on Thursday I will talk about deception.
2 John 1.7-8, Acts 20.28, Hebrews 12.16-17, 2 Timothy 4.10, 1 Kings 21.1-16