“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
–1 Peter 5:8 (AKJV)
This morning, I decided to start making dinner early. My wife Stephanie and I are blind, and we can’t read the labels on the food cans. Fortunately, Stephanie had used an app on her cell phone to read them, and she left the correct cans out on the cutting board. She also left a can of apple sauce out, and I mistook it for a can of beans. I managed to remedy things, but I was mad at myself for being careless and not checking the apple sauce label first.
At that point, I thought of another time in my life when I had done a better job. I had taken some homemade chili to a church potluck, and one guy there thought it was especially good. He ate about two or three bowls before asking who had made the chili. Once he found out I was the cook, my food didn’t appear to be quite so appetizing to him.
About two weeks later, I thought I would have some fun with him. While pretending to stammer in shame, I told him I had something to say. “What’s that?” he asked. “Well,” I told him, “I put dog food in the chili!” When he almost had a heart attack, I quickly told him I was only kidding.
The point of the first story is that sometimes all of us make small mistakes. In other words, you don’t have to be blind to mix up apple sauce and beans. Our human frailty is the reason why Jesus admonished his disciples. The Bible also admonishes us, as his disciples, to be watchful at all times.
The problem arises when I come to the second story, because it shows that sometimes I can just plain get lazy. That is what this morning with the beans was all about. I just didn’t want to go through the extra work of having my phone app read the food labels to me. Our human tendency to slack off is the reason why Peter uses the two words, “sober” and “vigilant”. In this case, being sober means that we should be serious about life. Peter is not saying that you can’t have fun. I had some fun while talking with my friend about the chili. Peter is saying, however, that we must have an underlying seriousness about life. If you are a believer, knowing that you are only here for a short time and that your real home is heaven makes all the difference in regards to viewing things on Earth.
Peter also warns us to be watchful when it comes to spiritual warfare. He lets us know that our enemy, Satan, is a very real foe. We need to be alert, as he is constantly on the move and ready to devour the peace and joy that we have in Christ. While we can always improve, the two things that I have found that will help us most are prayer and God’s Word.
When you pray, don’t just ask God for what you need. Confess your sins, and tell Him you want His best. While your situation may look like the best thing that could happen, only He can see the big picture. When you are facing what looks like an impossible time in your life, talk to God, and don’t forget to listen as well. Read and study His Word when He says that with Him all things are possible, and that He will never leave or forsake you.
Maybe you have done something awful, and you don’t feel that God could love you or forgive you. Satan is the one who is responsible for those negative thoughts. The good news is that Jesus said He wouldn’t ever cast you out, if you would only come to Him. If you have come and then fallen into sin, the apostle Paul said that there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.
A lack of conversation with God and attention to His Word leads to spiritual paralysis, and Satan would love to keep you down, but Jesus is telling you to take up your bed and walk. I challenge you to come to Him so He can show you how to walk boldly through your life with Him.