In the early morning hours when the sun is just beginning to peek over the distant hills and the birds are beginning a morning chorus of worship, from the shadows of our woods come graceful doe. They appear out of nowhere as the sun starts to glisten off the dewy grass.
One of our favorite things to do is watch the deer feed in the clearing behind our house. You'd think after nine months of coming regularly they would be comfortable and secure, knowing they're not in danger. But they are not. They never let their guard down.
They are always on alert.
For their well-being, they are always “quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant“–the very definition of alert.
White tails flicker and heads pop up from feeding every few seconds to scan the area for potential dangers while ears like radar dishes move to capture even the smallest twig breaking on the forest floor. They are fully awake, fully alert.
In order to survive and make it through the day, these deer must always be alert. It isn't something they do on occasion or when they're feeling especially peppy. No, the very core of their of their survival depends on being awake and alert. Deer are prey animals and in Pennsylvania, they are legal for harvesting during hunting season so I can understand their instinct to be alert.
Thankfully, most of us don't live in a place where we must be alert to physical life-threatening dangers. But did you know that like the deer, we must be awake and alert every moment of our lives?
We must be awake and alert in the spirit. We have an enemy, and he is looking for someone to devour. (See 1 Peter 5:8). If we're not awake and alert we will be like a helpless deer fall victim to a predator. We must guard against being spiritually sleepy. The Bible is clear: our biggest dangers aren't physical (from this world) but rather mighty spiritual dangers that we cannot see with the natural eye. (See Ephesians 6:12)
Another definition of alert is to be “fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen: an alert mind.”
We need to live fully aware, attentive to the spiritual world around us. We must be discerning of the Holy Spirit when He's speaking to us, and we must be aware of the enemy when he is trying to operate in us or through someone around us.
Keys to Being Spiritually Awake
Be Attentive to His Voice – God is always speaking to us. He speaks through His Word, our surroundings and circumstances, other people and directly to us. The problem is that we must be attentive to hear Him. When the deer are feasting on apples in our woods they aren't jamming to the latest Odocoileus virginianus rock music. They are tuned in to their surroundings. Like the deer, we must stay tuned in and not allow the noise of the world to overtake us.
Rest But Do Not Sleep – We can't fall asleep spiritually. We need to remain awake. We can rest our physical bodies and we can rest our minds, but our spirit should always be at full attention. In fact, we need to rest our bodies and our minds so that our spirit can stay in tune.
Stay Fit – We must stay spiritually fit to be tuned in. We must understand the characteristics of God and know how the enemy operates. We must be able to identify who is operating in our midst. Have you ever been around people you know and love only to look at them and wonder what on Earth has gotten into them at that moment? That could be the enemy operating through them too (pick one) stir up trouble, cause tension, get you off track and distracted, the list goes on…..We must stay fit with regular time in the Word and time in God's presence.
If You're Sleepy, It's Easy to Believe Lies
I remember a morning, like many others, when I was preparing for my morning time with Jesus. The house was cozy and quiet, and a steamy cup of coffee waited for me on the end table as I prepared my journal and pen. I no sooner hit the chair when a sleepy-eyed boy staggered out into the hallway with a blanket, a pillow and as many stuffed animals as his little arms could carry.
This morning was different. In my bewilderment of his entourage of things I said, “Buddy, what are you doing? Why do you have all that stuff?” His sleepy response to me:
“I can't sleep there. Daddy's farts woke me up.”
I'll give you a moment to stop laughing….
Funnier than his reason to be out of bed with an entourage of stuffies: Daddy had been out of bed for over an hour and was already at work.
Wyatt really believed Daddy was in bed. He had to go back and check to see that he wasn't there. In his sleepiness he'd assumed Daddy was in bed and “farts” woke him up. While this is not out of the realm of possibility, (especially after a dozen clams or a dish of cold baked beans), it was not why he woke up.
He was too sleepy to realize the truth. In his haze he believed something that wasn't true. If we allow ourselves to become spiritually sleepy, we will believe things that are not true and we will fall victim to the enemy.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will
be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Peter 1:13
Are you alert and awake or are you spiritually sleepy? It's time to be alert and awake!