Stay Awake! The Role of Keeping Alert

Stay Awake! The Role of Keeping Alert

As we stay alert and maintain allegiance to Jesus, we are protected from Satan’s traps and the spiritual deflation that they bring. Jesus’s promise of blessing those who embrace the role of staying alert rests on God’s justice to reward the faithful. Will not God be alert to those who are alert to him?

Many of us can’t focus for 5 minutes. The technological resources available to us opportune new pursuits without end. We can go in 1,000 directions and nowhere at the same time. This is a spiritual danger. The Bright Shiny Object fabricates a tale of fulfillment but lures us from reality. It promises what it cannot deliver, and we are susceptible if we are not paying attention to our spiritual lives. Challenging life situations, relational strife, and boredom—these and so many other circumstances can be a greenhouse of distraction from God.

John’s audience in Revelation was tempted by the Bright Sinny Object of safety and security, getting by and fitting in to get along and stay alive. Tempted to live for the here and now, to live as earth-dwellers instead of citizens of the soon-to-be-revealed heavenly city, John’s audience, too, was vulnerable to Satan’s lies.

Blessed are the Alert

What is required of God’s people in this atmosphere of spiritual warfare? In Rev 3:3, Jesus urges the church in Sardis to keep alert since his coming is like a thief. In the sixth bowl judgment (Rev 16:1216), John records the only speech report attributed to Jesus in any of the seal, trumpet, or bowl judgments. Jesus said, “Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed, so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame” (Rev 16:15, CSB). John ties together the role of keeping alert with the role of keeping one’s clothes. It is as if, in John’s mind, the level of the believer’s alertness is visible to the believer and the watching world.

We should understand the broader context of Jesus’s statement during the sixth bowl judgment recorded in Rev 16:1216.

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