The Bible has many scriptures which ask us to be watchful. Does it only talk about recognizing the times? The world also says that things are getting worse. Or are these exhortations for watchfulness given to develop our spiritual discernment for 1) our own shortcomings and 2) for the enemy's work in the world, and 3) the coming of the Lord? How can a Christian be expected to be watchful if it is really the work of the Holy Spirit who works this out in us? I therefore ask the Lord to open my eyes and ears and soften my heart more. And why are we, who love the Lord deeply, still so divided in what we see or discern? Do I really walk in the Light (1 John 1:7)? I would appreciate your thoughts about this. God bless you!
What great questions! Yes, the world is getting worse. Jesus predicted that this would happen.
A past question entitled “What are the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming?” may be of interest to you. God tells us that the world will get worse and conditions in the church will get worse too! While Jesus predicted that the good news about Himself would be preached throughout the world (Matt. 24:14), the Apostle Paul predicted the church would decrease in size (2 Thess. 2:1-3) and doctrinal differences would increase as well (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Things will only get worse.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. (NASB) Matt. 24:14
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed . . . (NASB) 2 Thess 2:3
Why does Jesus want us to watch for His return? Here are two of God’s reasons,
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (NASB) 2 Peter 3:11-12
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NASB) 1 John 3:2-3
If we really expected Jesus to return any moment, would you want Him to “catch” you committing a sin? God is simply encouraging us to be holy in our conduct so that when He returns we will not be caught in the very act of committing a sin. It is a call to holiness. Scripture never tells us that our watchfulness depends on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life. God simply encourages us to do that.
How about more reason? This one is called hope. In the Bible, hope is not a statement that says I am hoping something will occur. It is a statement of expectation. It will happen. That is one of the reasons I look at the signs, I want Him to come soon. That is also the message of Revelation 20:
. . . looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus . . . (NASB) Titus 2:13
. . . Come, Lord Jesus. (NASB) Rev. 22:20