Be alert

meerkat-275967_640Luke 21:36: But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

How would you describe your level of alertness?

Jesus told the disciples: watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:39-53). At that time because of Jesus’ watchfulness, he said: “this is the hour and power of darkness,” but the disciples were busy sleeping.

Their sense of their spiritual environment was poor. While Jesus was sensing things in the spirit, which should spur them to pray so they can overcome the plan of the devil, they were yielding to the flesh. According to natural time they should be sleeping, but according to spiritual timing they should be awake, praying. Being alert is about knowing what time it is in the spirit. The sons of Issachar, we were told, understood the times, knowing what Israel should do (1Chronicles 12:32). The disciples did not understand the times and so did not understand what they should do.

They thought that things were going to go on as it has been not knowing that things were about to be radically change (and already was in the spirit) and they were not prepared. They were not aware of the spiritual world.

Paul said that is an error, that if we are ignorant of the devices of the enemy he will take advantage of us (2Corinthians 2:11). When Eve was in conversation with the serpent, in her naïveté, she did not see into the true nature of the one she was conversing with and suffered for it (Genesis 3). She fell into temptation because she was not alert. She did not guard her heart with all diligence.

She was not aware of the spiritual dynamics around her, just as the disciples were not aware of the spiritual dynamics around them which caused Jesus be so distressed and be bent over in agony and in intense prayer.

While Jesus was going through what he was going through they could not shake sleep away. They were trapped by the natural call of sleep oblivious of the spiritual call to prayer.

Their spiritual vision were blocked, their spiritual sensitivity too, and they fell into temptation (fell in the time of trial). They could not respond the way Jesus did because they did not sense what he sensed. They were not watching in the spirit so they did not take prayer as important as they should. Peter said that we should be alert for the purpose of effective and passionate prayer.

Sleep is a symbol of lack of sensitivity, and spiritual deadness. In a parable that Jesus gave that while men slept the enemy comes to sow tears in a field in which you expect to see only wheat (Matthew 13:25). That means corruption of what is good happens when there is lack of spiritual sensitivity, lack of alertness. Paul wrote that the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), which aids alertness in the spirit.

Paul said we should awake to righteousness (1Corinthians 15:34), and not be caught unawares. Jesus said that in the last days the love of many shall wax cold, as they become influenced by iniquity (Matthew 24:12).

Hot is alert, and cold in lack of it, in spiritual slumber. And when righteousness is jettisoned it is a sign of spiritual slumbering, and entrapment.

The bible says that woe to those who are at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1-6), who are not grieving about the problem around, but even excusing them, seeking to flow with the increasing culture of sin around. Tolerating sin, not being grieved about the sin around, is a sign of spiritual slumber.

Elijah was grieved about the sinful state in Israel. He refused to readjust his sense of righteousness to accommodate the societal decay, so his love, passion for God, and consequently his love for righteousness did not wax cold.

Lack of prayer shows lack of alertness. If the disciple were praying then it means they were alert, they were in tune with the spiritual realm. Jesus lived his life alert because he lived his life as a praying person, he woke up early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35), he prayed all night (Luke 6:12), while being baptised in water by John he prayed (Luke 3:21), on the cross he prayed (Luke 23:46).

To stay awake is more than just opening the physical eyes, it is about opening the spiritual eyes. It is not about seeing demons behind every tree, it is primarily about being aware that you are seated with God in Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

It is taking prayer serious, not as something to do to pacify your conscience, but because you understand from scriptures that the days are evil (Ephesians 5:17), and you need to redeem the time, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-18), and we need to stand strong in prayer against principalities and power, against spiritual wickedness in high places, against beings with so thick an hatred for God.

But because they cannot get to God they presume they can get to you and they make attempted. Peter wrote that we should spiritual alert so that we do not become prey to the enemy (1Peter 5:8-9). And part of alertness is walking in the consciousness of the victory that you have in Jesus.

Prayer marks you apart as a seeker of God, and in one of the phrases that Jesus taught the people to pray, he said we should say to the father: lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6).

Therefore prayer is the avenue to get deliverance from evil. It is the secret place of the most high, since Jesus’ prescription of prayer is something done in the secret place (Matthew 6). So when we pray we are in the secret place of the most high and David said that he who dwells in the secret place of the most high abides under the shadow of the almighty, where nothing negative can touch us (Psalm 91).

The latter words in Psalm 91 were declarations of assured protection for those under the shadow of the almighty. Amidst the evil around you will be protected because you dwell in the secret place of the most high and abide under his shadow at all times.

The call is to be on the guard all the time. Israel had to be on guard all the time. They were meant to be a nation with military might, so God allowed some nations to remain around, when they were conquering, to give them trouble, so that by the exercise of their military strength, they can get stronger.

God did not want a weak nation on his hands. He wanted them to be effective to know when the enemy was coming, how to deploy an army for victory. But most importantly, it is to constantly depend on God to stay alive, which would prevent pride from growing in them. They were to be on alert all the time, because of the enemy around, constantly guiding against them. That is the reason for walled cities.

In the focus verse, strength is needed for escape and the bible says that if you faint in the day of adversity that means your strength is small (Proverbs 24:10). It is not for fun that Paul wrote of the need for us to be strong in the lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10). That means though you can be a child of God, which is spiritual rebirth, spiritual strength is another thing entirely.

The writer of the book of Hebrews complained about some people. He said when they ought to be teachers they still needed to be taught the basics of Christianity and can only take in milk (Hebrews 5:11-14). Increasing spiritual maturity is about increasing spiritual knowledge and ditto strength.

This is a call to commitment to spiritual growth. Peter said that we should grow in two areas: in grace and knowledge, and both are derived from Christ (2Peter 3:18).


One thought on “Be alert

  1. Reblogged this on Disciples of hope and commented:
    Being alert is much useful than being sleepy. Not just during war times but also in your walk with Chirst. You need to be alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be asleep to the glory of the Lord God. Rise up and wait upon Jesus Christ. You will find your rest, peace and security in him. Value the presence of God’s love and favor in your. Don’t close your eyes to the Lord’s goodness but be awake to the awesomeness of God.


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