The Need for Vigilance

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 5:8-11)

The theme of I Peter is that Christians are to be ready and watchful for the coming of our Lord. In the midst of the chapter, we are admonished to be vigilant. Webster’s 1828 “American Dictionary of the English Language” defines vigilant as “Watchful; circumspect; attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety.” Why does the Lord warn us in His Word to be vigilant? It is because our …adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Webster’s dictionary defines adversary as “An enemy or foe; one who has enmity at heart.” It goes on to define it as “An opponent or antagonist, as in a suit at law, or in single combat; an opposing litigant.”

Webster’s dictionary defines devour as “To eat up; to eat with greediness; to eat ravenously, as a beast of prey, or as a hungry man. …To destroy spiritually; to ruin the soul.” Satan is not just trying to destroy us; he is trying to swallow us up or to consume us with things that he controls. We are admonished to be vigilant or to be on the lookout because Satan is trying to get us. Satan rules the Earth and has free reign over this Earth. He uses everything that he can to tempt us to be consumed by his devices. We are warned, therefore, to be on the lookout because Satan is trying to devour us or waste our lives, even as we wait for the coming of the Lord.

Christians must be aware that Satan is our enemy. His goal is to do everything in his power to cause Christians to waste their lives doing all the wrong things. Sin is not the only thing that destroys a life; waste is also a destructive force. Many Christians who are not living in what is sometimes called “deep sin” are still wasting their lives because Satan has soaked up or devoured all of their time and energy for causes that are not eternal.

Vigilance is required in several areas, but first, we must understand what vigilance is.

  1. Vigilance is awareness. The Bible clearly commands us to be alert and on guard because of Satan’s prowess.
    • Be aware of people. There are people whom Satan uses to devour us. Vigilance is making certain we do not let our guard down when these people are around. These people are not necessarily the most sinful in terms of vices. They are often dangerous because of the divisiveness of their spirits or the false doctrines they espouse.
    • Be aware of places. One who is vigilant does not walk into the den of the lion. Avoid places where Satan reigns.
    • Be aware of practices. I am referring to the actions in our lives that can lead us to be susceptible to Satan. Careless behavior is a sign of a lack of vigilance.
  1. Vigilance is sobriety. Along with being vigilant, we must be sober. Webster’s dictionary defines sober as “Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; as sober judgment; a man in his sober” Every believer must maintain a sense of sobriety at all times because Satan is on the loose.
  2. Vigilance is preparedness. Ephesians 6:14-16 describes the six pieces of the armor of God as follows:
    • Belt of Truth
    • Breastplate of Righteousness
    • Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
    • Shield of Faith
    • Helmet of Salvation
    • Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God

The devil is real, and we need to be on the lookout. He is seeking to swallow us whole. Lookout! See him for what he is and be vigilant.

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by pastor greg neal

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