Be on the Alert

This week started out with the wonderful holiday we call Halloween. I grew up in a church that called it a Fall Festival, or a Harvest Festival, but now I just call it plain old Halloween.

Some of you know that I spent my first four years out of high school in the Marine Corps. The closest I ever came to actual combat was for about 25 days in the woods at Camp Lejune during (appropriately named) Marine Combat Training (MCT). During one of our training exercises, we were told to “dig in” at about sunset on Halloween night 1999, and to be on guard because there rumors of another unit organizing an attack on us. We took turns sleeping that night in the fighting hole, the guy awake peering blindly into the darkness waiting for this “eminent” attack. At about 2 AM I remember being shocked about the guys two holes down, who whispered over to us to “wake us up if anything happens” and both layed down and went to sleep. It wasn’t long after, that I was startled by a hand on my shoulder. It was my Platoon Sergeant, and he had a goofy grin on his face, and a very large machine gun called a “Saw” in his hands. He put his finger to his lips, telling me to remain silent, and moved on to the next hole. You see where I’m headed with this right? About 30 seconds later, I hear: “Trick or Treat!” He opened fire into that fighting hole, (with blanks of course,) and sent those two dreamers scurrying every which way looking for their weapons. One of them had even taken his boots off! Believe me, the Platoon Sergeant made his point: Be on the alert.     

How does this apply to you, and your Christian walk? Be on the alert. In other words, do not treat the truth of God’s Word or your own faith carelessly.  What God has revealed in his Word is far too important to be neglected.  Dangers, real dangers, both spiritual and eternal dangers surround you and want to snatch away from you what is truly important.  1 Corinthians, a letter full of advice and instruction is written by Paul. In chapter 16, Paul is about to close his teaching, about to leave. But in the final verses he adds some concluding remarks, very much like a Mom and Dad in their last few minutes on the college campus, trying to leave his Corinthian college kids with a few important final thoughts. There are five specific instructions, by which people can live by for continuous lifestyle of Christianity. The first instruction is found in verse 13. Be on the alert.

What Paul is saying is this: “Keep on watching, not just some of the time, but all of the time.”  Your love for God’s Word and your concern for souls should be so strong that you take to heart Jesus’ warning voiced in the Gospels: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk 8:36,37)  Be on the alert.


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