The Value and Virtue of Vigilance

Currently Norma Jean and I are enjoying some time in one of our favorite places, the Smoky Mountains.  It is a lovely time of year with flowers blooming and apple trees, red buds and dogwoods blossoming. Plus we have a great view from our cabin.

However, the winding road to our cabin is narrow sometimes steep with dangerous drop-offs inches away.  In the last stretch, there’s no room to meet another car.  So far, we haven’t.  But it puts Norma Jean a bit on edge with constant reminders for me to take it easy.  Drive slowly. And not be looking around at the beautiful mountain vistas.

This morning as I glanced at today’s Bible reading I noticed Jesus issued a similar warning to His disciples regarding their spiritual lives with this two-word admonition, “Watch and pray.” (Lk. 21:36)

The word “watch” 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.”

A quick search reveals this was a frequent reminder of Jesus.  The last time being in Gethsemane’s garden as He fervently prayed in the shadow of the cross.  Peter, James, and John were instructed to “watch” while Jesus prayed.  But they fell asleep.

“Could you not watch with me one hour?” Jesus sorrowfully asked.

Then he added, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak” (Mk. 14:34-38).

More than physically being watchful, this is a metaphor for being awake and alert spiritually.

Later Peter, James, and John, as well as the other apostles, would write about the value and virtue of vigilance in Christian living.   It is a serious warning we need to heed today.

Watch and Pray.

The Devil is ever on the move seeking to ensnare us. To find a little crack in our character.  To prey upon some weakness of the flesh. To arouse in us a forbidden passion.  To tempt our eyes to look twice at something we should have seen once. To give in to frustration and futility with anger, wrath, and clamor.  To grow weary and well-doing and give in to spiritual fatigue.

Watch and pray.

Shepherds are called upon and commanded to be vigilant in their oversight of souls entrusted to their charge.  It’s a big responsibility.  They must awake to the needs of new Christians.  The challenges of the weak.  The feeble. And the young.  They must be on guard that error doesn’t creep into their midst.  They must tend to nurture, care and feeding of the flock.

Watch and pray.

Parents who seek to train their children in the admonition of the Lord must ever be vigilant to protect them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  There are so many harmful influences in our world that would undermine, defile and destroy our families.

Be awake to the temptations of unwholesome entertainment.  Trashy TV shows. Lurid literature. Internet pornography. Raunchy music. And anything else that appeals to lustful thoughts, lewd feelings, and lascivious actions.

Watch and pray.

Young people must be taught to “flee youthful lusts.”  To learn responsibility. Be accountable.  To remember their Creator. To develop discretion. To grow in grace and knowledge. To mature spiritually.  To be God’s man or woman.

Watch and pray.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8)

“Resist him.”

Watch and pray.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Living

4 responses to “The Value and Virtue of Vigilance

  1. tommythornhill

    good thoughts. Your comments about Norma telling you to be careful and quit looking at the scenery reminds me of my time in Norway. Traveling some of the roads there, Carol would tell me, she would see the scenery for me, keep my eyes on the road. God bless.

  2. Nancy Voelker

    Thanks, Ken, for very great message. We need this reminder always you and Norma enjoy the downtime and enjoy the Smokies. Beautiful country! Try it on a motorcycle and the driver is enjoying the scenery while the passenger is yelling to “look at the road” and alo making his belt loops 6” longer! God sure did ride with us that day! 😂🤣❤️🤗💯. 🙏☝️❤️💯

    • Thanks, Nancy. We definitely are enjoying the beauty of Springtime in the Mts. Don’t think a motorcycle is in our future. Norma Jean is on edge enough just driving through the Mts in a car!

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