“Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”- Luke 21:36.
When a soldier falls asleep on guard duty, the solider and his or her colleagues are vulnerable to the enemy. Bad things can and do happen. As Christians, we are soldiers in a different kind of war so we cannot afford to fall asleep either. Too much is at risk. That may sound overly dramatic but if we fail to be watchful, we can find things slipping spiritually as Satan works to make inroads into our thinking and action. Jesus warns us in Mark 13:36-37:“Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
Being watchful means being spiritually awake and focused on spiritual priorities. Scripture says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2). If this is your Godly strength, God has equipped you generously with wisdom of spiritual warfare. We have to be watchful for strongholds the devil is building in our minds. We want to lose some weight but oh those Krispy Creme donuts. Our practical side says, don’t eat those donuts. But then we look at them and then look at them again. Pretty soon we are eating them. Being watchful means we don’t just resist we change the channel. We refocus. We turn our mind away from the things that the Devil wants you to focus on to the things that God wants you to focus on. But in order for that to happen we need to be watchful.
The Bible has a lot to say about the subject. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” And 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” And finally Acts 20:31 says, “Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.”
The apostle Peter was not watchful after Jesus told him to be watchful; instead, Peter fell asleep as Jesus fervently prayed for the strength to face theatricals ahead (Matthew 26:36-46). As Peter progressed in his faith, he clearly began to better understand the role of being watchful played in a Christian’s spiritual walk. So late in his life, Peter warned believers to be watchful of the devil: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
We are in battle, and like any good soldier let us keep a diligent watch over the ramparts of the city that we may see the enemy’s approach from any direction and guard against its fierce and subtle attacks on our hearts and minds.
1. What does being observant mean to you?
2. What can we do to be more watchful as we train our minds?