Last night, a neighbor came to my door about 11:30; I was asleep, but our doorbell (It's one of those fancy ones with a camera on it; it was a Christmas present from a loving family member) recorded this neighbor trying to get our attention. You see, our children had gone out to get the birthday presents they bought for some friends, and left the door hanging wide open, and our neighbor wanted to let us know about it. No harm done, I suppose (I have yet to look in the car to make sure), except there was. When I was getting ready to come in to the office this morning, what should I see staring back at me from the car but a cat who had wandered in to the car, half scared out of its mind. My eldest son and I chased it out, and it gratefully made a mad dash to freedom, but it could have been so much worse! We were not watching out for our vehicle; we should have double checked, all of us are to blame.
Why am I saying this? The bible warns us, over and over, to be on guard. The Devil, according to Peter, is a roaring lion looking for a soul to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Luckily for us, it was just a kitten that had crawled in, I guess! Yet we're constantly told throughout the New Testament to keep our guard up; to make sure we're not being led astray, or to relax securely in this life, or anything to do with it. Our security is in Christ, and it does not take long to get distracted from Him and move on to something else, even as we think we're following Him. We need to be careful! Many false teachings have penetrated the church, speaking of our health, safety, and how to make amends with the world, but these are teachings apart from the scriptures, and while good hearted, they're not about Jesus and what He can do, they're about us. When we follow Christ, HE unites people. When we follow Christ, HE brings hope and healing. We have to constantly be on our guard; or, as Paul tells timothy, to guard the deposit of faith entrusted to us. The Devil seeks opportunity, but Christ holds us securely!
1 Peter 5:1-11
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.