“Where’s Miles?” I asked Norma Jean.
“Oh, he’s sitting on the stairs,” she replied.
I went to see and he was not there. As I went up the stairs, Miles was coming down the stairs, out of the family room, grinning and carry a dartboard.” Thankfully, he wasn’t throwing any darts.
We’re keeping our grandson Miles for a few days while our son Kenny is in Denver for a wedding. We are learning that you’ve got to pay attention, because he can get out our your sight so quickly.
Our word of the week is “alert.”
Being alert is not only a good thing when watching small children, but it is a scriptural imperative for Christians.
The apostle Peter warned, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8)
The word means “to keep awake. To give strict attention to. Be cautious”
It is used 22 times in the New Testament and speaks to a need to be spiritually attentive. It is translated in various passages as “watchful,” “alert,” vigilant.” “On guard.” “Awake.”
This text reminds us of the reality of the devil. The danger he poses. And the need to “be alert.” Satan can attack us without warning. He’s pictured as a hungry lion on the prowl. Seeking out prey. Desiring to devour. Crouched ready to pounce. All he needs is a small window of opportunity and before we can react, we are in his clutches.
“Be on the alert” the Bible exhorts, “stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor 16:13).
To the Colossians, Paul penned, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving,” (Col. 4:2).
Jesus constantly warned his followers to watchful. In Mark 13:33-37, four times in four verses Jesus says, “Be alert.”
Since 9/11 we have been instructed to be alert to our surroundings. Be watchful of something suspicious. Many times we’ve been reminded: “If you see something, say something!”
Today when we fly TSA guards are watching passengers for a potential problem. Bags are scanned. People are searched. Security is tight. A recorded intercom message constantly reminds not to leave any luggage unattended. Everyone is cautioned to be aware of any unusual activity.
Because we know there is a real threat of terrorism in our world today. Evil people are determined to hurt others. Destroy property. And take the lives of those they dislike.
In the same way we need to be spiritually alert. The Bible says we’re in a spiritual battle against the forces of evil. Paul uses military metaphors urging Christians to stand strong against Satan’s schemes. He calls us to “put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:10). The belt of Truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit. The shield of faith. (Eph 6:14-17) He concludes this warning by commending constant prayer and then urges, “be on the alert with all perseverance…”
After warning about the darkness of sin and the certain second coming of Jesus, the Bible exhorts Christians, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thess. 5:6).
We must be alert to the devious devices of the Devil to trip and trap us. To unwholesome entertainment. Lurid literature. Internet pornography. Trashy TV shows. Raunchy music. Compromising situations. And anything else that appeals to lustful thoughts, lewd feelings and lascivious actions.
Also we must be alert to ungodly attitudes that may carelessly creep into our lives like bitterness. Resentment. Envy. Jealousy. Pride. Selfishness. Indifference.
Miles is teaching us to increase our awareness of his whereabouts. In the same way, may we be equally alert to the wiles of the devil, the subtlety of sin, and the spiritual threats to our souls.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman