There are times in every believer when things become crystal clear. The comes an awareness of things that are real and true. We see in detail the world as it really is; we suddenly understand.
We are specifically called to be watchful.
What that suggests to me is that we have an awareness of “each hour’ of the day. We choose to know the time, no matter our circumstances. We are made alert in hope though the world spins around us.
About 30 years ago I was ‘hitch-hiking’ in Alaska. I was not in the best place spiritually, and wasn’t really listening to the Lord. I had walked a bit and was about a mile from my cabin when I saw a ’3×5′ card laying off the ground. Picking it up, I turned it over, and read the simple message written on it– “Stay Alert.” Weird. I walked further and saw another. I went and picked up, the same simple message. “Stay Alert.” That same day I was notified of a family emergency. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer. I was not prepared.
“So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”
1 Thessalonians 5:6
There are three distinct areas that demand and require every believer’s watchful attention:
- The Second Coming, Jesus’ return and the signs signaling
- Spiritual warfare, against temptation and oppression
- the Fellowship of the Saints, others in the Church
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: ”Stay awake.”
‘The Parable of the Ten Virgins’ is Jesus’ cry for awareness for the waiting believer. The verses in Matthew 25 is a description of wise and foolish behavior and the terrible consequences of spiritual inattention.
We know that we must sleep, it is a physical need we all have. I think Jesus is warning us of a spiritual awareness. Vigilance– being watchful can be a challenge. The World offers plenty of narcotics that lull the heart. Satan is quite proficient at what he does.
In the Book of Song of Solomon we see the beloved waiting for her lover. She makes the observation–
“I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.”
Song of Solomon 5:2
Even sleeping we can be awake. That is a luxury given to those whom the Father loves. We can be ‘cued in’ even as we physically rest. Our hearts are very much awake, even in our pajamas!
In the sport of fencing two opponents face off with foils. The come together with the cry, ‘on guard’ and both become intensely aware of the other. I suggest we become as focused as believers. There is so much at stake. Jesus warns his disciples, and we had best listen.