I went out the other day to do some yard work and decided to clear out some of the overgrown brush that was behind my yard to gain a nice shaded area beneath some trees. As usual, nothing is ever as simple as it seems to be when you start a job. As I went along clearing out the unwanted brush. I came across some Picker bushes (which I absolutely hate), some poison ivy and some vine like weeds that actually grow to 3inch in diameter and sprawl through all of my Forsythia bushes that line the back yard. I hadn’t noticed before how overgrown this stuff had become. Trying to untangle these vines from the forsythia was a huge job. They had entangled and weaved all the way up each branch of the bush and were choking it to death and because they resembled the bushes and maybe my lack of being observant, they had gone unnoticed by me to the point that the forsythia bush was dying.
As I am doing all this, it reminded me of how sin does the same exact thing in our lives. It comes into our life in the most subtle ways, sometimes even parading itself as something good. It comes in slowly and weaves its way around us and through every branch of our life. Before we know it or maybe because we are not always as observant as we should be, our Christian growth starts to stop and if we don’t do something about it, it will kill our Walk with the Lord and we will no longer be walking with him but walking on our own, until we come to a place in our life where we turn around and don’t recognize where we are.
This is why we must stay alert. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I would always read this verse and just cruise on by because I figured I was alert. But just like those weeds and vines almost killed my forsythia bushes, sin can do the same thing if we are not Absolutely Self Controlled and Alert. I have not mastered this area in my life, yet. But I am trying to become more and more alert and self controlled everyday.
In 1 Peter 1:13,16 it says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
and in 1 Peter 4:7 it says “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” My Spidey senses are tingling and sensing an urgent theme here. Be Alert! But what does that actually mean. For years I remember my Dad pointing out these verses and telling me to be alert. I thought I was alert. Of course I was not nowhere near as alert as I should have been, because there is a lot of meaning behind those two words that go over your head sometimes. How do you actually put that into practice every day? How do you actually Stay Alert?
2 Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” and Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” so we know by Faith that it is possible.
Everyday you must take stock of everything in your life and make sure it is in line with God’s will. You must do it EVERYDAY, with everything or things will get past you. I notice in my own life that even down to the simple things in life like say taking Vitamins. I take vitamin supplements to help with staying healthy and I take them regularly, and then there will come that day where something gets in the way, you get up late or you get busy doing something and you promise yourself you will take them later but you don’t get around to it. Then one day might turn into two days or if you let it, it might turn into two weeks. You look back and say “Man, I was doing so good there for awhile, what happened?”. Not taking vitamins will not choke your life out, but letting sin in your life will.
Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We must stay alert, in other words we must be actively looking at our lives every day to weed out any sin in our life. Hebrews 12:2 goes on to say “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Secondly we must fix our eyes on Jesus and his example, his words, his actions and how we should be acting. and as Hebrews 12:3 finishes with “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Again, Fix your eyes on Jesus and make sure everything in your life is in line with God’s will or you will end up in a place that you don’t want to be.
I don’t know about you but I am making every effort to work harder every day to Stay Alert! and as Paul says “Win the Prize”. With the world the way it is today and the Prophetic signs happening at light speed. Jesus will be here for us any moment.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”