Ever look up and see people looking down? No matter what they are doing or where they are going, they are in this permanent bent neck position always looking downward. With everyone and their kid sister having smart phones, society's natural posture is hunched over. Maybe you don’t even realize this because you yourself are always looking down! But my point is that most people are oblivious to what is around them because they are not looking. Something more alluring is catching their eye on a screen. No matter how important other things should be, the screen ends up being more important. For example, consider something as important as driving. It is very important to pay attention when driving because of how deadly the consequences are if you don’t. Yet, many people are getting into accidents because they were looking at their phones instead. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. If we are not paying attention, it can lead to a tragic consequence. But I’m not even sure if that will be enough for people to change. I at times think we don’t want to be aware of what is around us. We are so self-consumed and self-absorbed that if it’s not interesting to us we just don’t care. And this kind of attitude can spill into our spiritual lives as well.
Ever notice how much the Bible teaches us to be watchful? Alert? Aware? Sober minded? Ready? Prepared? Awake? It is actually quite eye opening at how often God commands us in His word to make sure we are alert and ready. What is equally amazing is the amount of things we must be watchful for! We are to be watchful for Christ’s return, for our own soul, for the devil, for false teachers, for temptation, for people that may cause us to stumble, for our mouth and for making a defense to mention a few.
Are you watching out as the Bible warns? Or is your head buried in the proverbial sand? Are you awake and alert? Standing on guard and prepared? Or are you more consumed with your own little world? Are you spiritually looking down on a small screen that is your life? Do you in your heart ever look up and out around you? I sometimes wonder if we are so susceptible to worldliness and sin because we just aren’t looking out and watching! Satan doesn’t even have to give an effort at sneaking up on us. I sometimes think he could come directly towards us with big banners, lights, displays, making so much noise and we won’t even care to notice until it's too late! We can complain to God and wonder why we are so tormented in our soul. When in all actuality it falls squarely on us because we aren’t watching out and being prepared! If people are told a storm will hit their area, then they go out and prepare. They board up their windows, make sure they have batteries for their flashlights, get candles and matches, have water and food stocked up.Here, God is warning us of so much that can be a storm to our soul and we live as if nothing is ever going to happen.
At the end of every church service I read 1 Corinthians 16:13. And the first words of that verse are “Be watchful…” I want the congregation to ready themselves for the week ahead. Who knows what we may face. We have a vague idea of our plans but who knows what comes crashing in to turn our soul upside down! We need to be like the soldier in the watchtower looking out for the enemy to attack. We can not fall asleep on our souls! This can be so detrimental to our hearts. How many of us would be fully ready and prepared if the devil attacked this minute?! Or if Jesus came back right now?! Would we wish we had a few more days to get ready?
Over the next few articles we are going to cover the various things that God tells us to watch out for; Christ’s return, our own souls, the devil, false teachers, temptation, people that may cause us to stumble, our mouths/tongue and to give a defense. For now be alert and ready! To help you have a mindset of watchfulness include it in your prayer life. A number of times God’s word combines being ready with praying. For instance, “But stay awake at all times, praying…” (Luke 21:36) and “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it…” (Colossians 4:2). Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura write, “In his western classic novel Gone To Texas, Forrest Carter notes that when riders rode through the night they needed to be alert. The possible mishaps that could occur at night were all around. In order to stay awake and alert, cowboys would often rub tobacco juice in their eyes. The burn and discomfort prevented them from getting sleepy. If cowboys on the range would employ such an extreme stinging tactic to avoid their enemies, how much more must christians stay alert? When the evil day is upon us, nothing is more important than being alert in the fight and laying hold of the Lord in prayer, seeking His strength and strapping the armor on again in prayer.” Pull your head up! Look around! Watch out! Pray that your heart will be ready and that you don’t fall asleep! For your soul depends on it!!