As I was looking out of the window at home recently, I noticed a deer on the other side of the hedge. He had his head down as he grazed on the plants at the bottom of the hedge. However, every few moments, his head would jerk up and he would look around, checking for any danger, before resuming feeding.
It seemed to me rather unrelaxing for the deer to have to be so constantly focussed on potential danger, but it struck me that this is exactly how we should be. Thankfully, in the UK, we are not facing physical attack every day, but we are in a spiritual battle and should be just as alert as the deer. Today’s verse tells us to be sober and to be vigilant and watchful. In a war situation, soldiers on the front-line would be alert at all times, never letting their guard slip. We should be the same.
During the Second World War, Field Marshall Montgomery had a photograph in his caravan of Rommel, who was commanding the opposing forces during the North African campaign. Apparently, he would stand and look intently at this photograph, with a view to understanding his enemy better and knowing what strategy he might use. We don’t want to be spending time focusing on the devil, but we do need to understand his tactics and be prepared for any way in which he might attack us. We will then be able to resist him, using the word of God, just as Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness.
Being watchful in these days does not just mean being alert to what the enemy is doing. We should also know what God is doing and be able to interpret present events through the discernment of the Holy Spirit. We should be like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32, ‘who understood the times and knew what Israel should do’. We will then be able to pray more effectively in these times when prayer for our nation is so vitally needed.
Prayer: Lord, I am sorry for the times when I have been lazy in my faith, and have not been alert to the enemy or been discerning about the days we are in. Please help me to be more watchful and vigilant. In Jesus’ name, Amen.