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

WATCHFULNESS IS AN ATTITUDE WE CAN HARDLY DO WITHOUT. God happens to have a great adversary, and if we take God’s side, that means we have the same adversary that God does. In his arrogant rebellion against God, Satan is bent on the destruction of every personal being God ever made. To the battlefield of the human heart, the devil brings weapons of considerable craftiness, and our spiritual survival will be extremely unlikely, if not impossible, if we don’t wake up and watch out. “Be sober, be vigilant,” is what Peter said, and he wasn’t wasting words.

Yet negligence is a widespread problem, and not only among those who are foolish and indifferent. All too often, those who have been around long enough to know better still show little concern. Consider two occasions when we may let our guard down.

Spiritual maturity. Curiously enough, the more mature we become in the Lord, the less we sometimes see the need for a humble and cautious mentality. Secretly, we may even pride ourselves on our ability to handle certain temptations — temptations that we wouldn’t advise the less mature to expose themselves to. But don’t we see the difference between courage and foolhardiness?

Old age. As we get closer to heaven, it’s natural that we cease to be actively concerned about certain dangers. We begin to face life, as Mark Twain said, “with the serene confidence of a gambler with an ace up his sleeve.” Yet we still need to be careful. Daniel was ninety years old or more when he had his lion’s den experience (Daniel 6:1-23). And Abraham was at least a hundred and ten before the Lord decided it was time for the most excruciating test of his faith (Genesis 22:1-19). At their age, who would have thought such struggles would still have to be endured? Is our enemy so blinded by his hatred that he refuses to give up?

As for God, His victory is absolutely certain. The decisive battle was painfully fought at the Cross and decisively won in the Resurrection. But as for us, we’ve not yet made our final choice. “Be faithful until death” (Revelation 2:10) is not a command that can be put on autopilot, and right now is no time for negligence.

“You must watch, pray, and fight. Expect your last battle to be the most difficult, for the enemy’s fiercest charge is reserved for the end of the day” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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