I wish you could see what I see. Outside my study window, a squirrel sits in our tire swing. He bends his head beneath the black rubber but only for a moment. Quickly he pops back up and surveys the yard. This process repeats for several minutes until a small Voice reminds me of a vital truth. The squirrel knows he has natural enemies he must avoid to live; whether it is Bear, our good-natured Rottweiler, Mel, our stalking cat, or some dive-bombing hawk. There are no old, careless squirrels in our neighborhood.
Amos 6:1--Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria— the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to.
God does not like complacency. It is the cousin of laziness and the indifferent spirit that gives the enemy ample opportunity to destroy us. Peter warned us, “Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey” (1 Peter 5:8—Phillips Translation). But how heeded is his solemn advice?
After consuming a large meal on Thanksgiving, my proclivity is towards sleep. The holidays hardly inspire alertness. And now the incessant bells of buy and spend clang their holiday mantra. The once noble Saint Nicholas has morphed into the materialistic Santa god. Powerful voices decree that “Merry Christmas” is too close to Christ, that name that offends, so we must endure “Happy Holidays.” In the midst of mirth are the paw-prints of Satan.
To be vigilant requires three conditions. First, we must know what we value. When we lose sight of what is most important and take for granted what is sacred, we slide into complacency and stop protecting what matters. Second, we must know our enemies. There will always be those who would destroy what we value to impose what they deem important.
Jesus warned Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23b). The things of men are cravings, lustful eyes and pride (see 1 John 2:16). There is an ever-growing cast of those who hate what God loves. Therefore, if we think we have no enemies then somewhere along the way we stopped identifying with Jesus. Third, we must decide to what extent we are willing to go to protect what we value. Unless we are willing to die for Christ, we have frail motive to be alert. Jesus told Peter in John 21:18, “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” Tradition teaches us that Peter died crucified upside down for His Lord. Peter remained true to his faith because he knew His Savior was true to His Father.
The storm clouds are gathering; the days grow short. Don’t be caught unprepared. Be alert! Be vigilant! Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Satisfaction in any shape or form is impregnable to warning; personal uprightness is always alert to the voice of warning.—Oswald Chambers in Notes on Jeremiah
©2005 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)