A number of people are involved in a duty to the Body of Christ that is called “Discernment Ministry.” I believe the term to be a misnomer because it is neither discernment nor ministry. It is more observation and exposing by literature or social media everything and everyone influencing Christians with what is against God’s word. Additionally, it is also sounding the alarm with detailed information and identification of unfruitful works of darkness. However, every Christian ought to have discernment and the duty of ministry is something altogether different. So it needs a new term more befitting the effort. My choice would be simply “Watchman,” no extra word or subtitle.
Watchmen were common in the Old Testament but were never mentioned in the New Testament. They were as lookouts that spent a night or day shift in watchtowers or walking the tops of the city walls. Sometimes, as in the case of Ezekiel, prophets were called by God to be watchmen. Watchmen were very important to every walled city. They had to remain very alert for long periods and great eyesight was a requirement. It is likely that they developed certain skills, such as how to discern in the dark the difference between an animal and a human. The occupants of the city could sleep in peace and security knowing that they would be alerted if an enemy attacked or robbers tried to sneak into the city.
God’s watchmen today are similar in their duties. First, they know that they are called and do not feel comfortable doing anything else. However, the duty is difficult and thankless. There are much stress and many other negatives that make the job very harsh and demanding. In fact, many individuals who became watchmen have quit the job. Other ones have died prematurely. I know legitimate watchmen who have serious health issues and live in near poverty.
When they present an article, book, or video alerting Christians to a heresy or diabolical practice invading Christianity, there are mixed reactions. Very few Believers express their gratefulness. Other ones may be grateful but are never heard from. But then there are people who are apparently convinced that they have a God sent unction to punish the watchmen for their efforts. Their opposition is false accusations, insulting remarks, demeaning pejoratives, and spreading untruths about the watchman’s character or motives.
The overwhelming majority of professing Christians ignore the warnings of the watchmen. Furthermore, in spite of their best efforts to expose the darkness, it commonly does not change anything. They must be content with an occasional report that someone escaped the clutches of deception because of the watchman’s efforts. Realizing that no matter what you do, things will not get better but worse may be the most difficult part of the duty. Many long hours of diligent research and writing is invested in a single article essential to prevent people from being deceived and innumerable individuals stream by it without a glance.
One must wonder why God calls and sends watchmen to people who could not care less for their service. It is because God really does love the world and does not wish for the wicked to perish. He certainly knows that the watchmen and the prophets will be mostly rejected, but He sends them anyway. The disaster that the watchmen and prophets warn about will eventually arrive, but as long as there is hope for one person to be turned from the path of deception, the warnings will continue.
It is essential to understand what one must go through to be a watchman. First, one does not simply decide one day to expose heretics and in a short period is standing on the highest stump with scores of eager listeners. I know from personal observation and experience that God sends His watchmen through a school of suffering before He uses them. That school may last a year or as in at least one case 10 years. He must purge the watchman of many things and condition him or her not to need certain amenities that most Christians enjoy. He teaches them how to hear His voice via the indwelling Holy Spirit.
They are taught the great lesson of waiting. That lesson alone may take years to learn. During that period the watchman may wish for deliverance from a harsh trial and only hear the single word “wait.” The watchman will wait until the desire to be delivered has completely gone away. Only then will God deliver him or her.
During the lesson of waiting the watchman will learn many valuable lessons that will repeatedly make the difference between victory and defeat. One such lesson is how to face insurmountable problems and obstacles with all of one’s abilities and options insufficient to win victory. When the watchman has only God to depend on, and if God does not help him or her defeat will be crushing and very costly, there is great value in full and deep surrender. It is surrender similar to being told to leap into a dark and deep cavern with the promise that God will catch you before you hit the bottom.
Finally, whether the Believers support the watchmen or not, God will send them and keep them active warning people of danger. He will replace the fallen ones and those who quit their post. Whether or not anyone stands up for them when they are in a battle with heretics that have consolidated their influence to destroy a watchman, the tried and tested ones will not back down. They would rather die than give up.
No matter what calling one is in today, considering the ubiquitous deception and apostasy, their duty is not without its demands. However, watchmen who are not pastors or who have no title or office in Christianity are very much alone in their work. Every true Believer who has his or her eyes and ears open to truth has to decide how they are going to support the watchmen. The least we can do is provide encouragement. It may not appear significant, but it can go a long way toward making the very negative and thankless job less unpleasant. The greatest debt we owe is to pray for them. It would be a tremendous blessing if everyone who does not currently pray for a watchman would copy down the names of the ones they know are true watchmen. Then if they would set aside some time every day to pray for them, for their families, their income, their health, and their protection, what a great support they would provide.
We do not know how much longer that this dark period will continue. Furthermore, we do not know how dark it will become, how many leaders will fall, the number of churches that will compromise, and ministries that will fail. What we do know is that we have to be faithful no matter what happens. A great benefit during this very disturbing time is the watchmen who expose dark works and warn the masses. I hope and pray that the Believers will understand that great benefit God has provided and support these men and women who sacrifice to “stand on the walls” and sound the alarm.