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Be Alert!

February 2009

     The need for alertness may be illustrated by a typical long-distance trip on a modern-day freeway. Travel is usually easy, smooth and fast. Cruising along at the speed limit on smoothly-paved express lanes can have the effect of lulling the mind into thinking everything's fine. If conditions are good, a large state or province may be crossed in just a few hours. The thought of something going wrong, fades into the background.
     However, a seasoned traveler knows also, how quickly circumstances can change. He understands the need to always be fully alert, even when progress is going well! Sailing along Interstates through larger cities, he keeps a watchful eye to the large over-head lane marker signs. Much time can be lost if he got off on the wrong exit.
     Sometimes the road numbers can be confusing or difficult to interpret. A driver must be aware of other vehicles that are traveling nearby and anticipate movements or decisions they might make. Weather can change road conditions very quickly and treacherous conditions may occur when just a few moments ago, the pavement was bare!
     The Apostle Paul reminds Christians that they are living in the "last days" and the "day of the Lord" will catch some folks unprepared. But, he writes, "ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" (I Thessalonians 5:2-4).
     Thoughtful Christians will live in a state of anticipation. Praise God, we can live prepared lives and be ready for Christ's second coming, which is described in Matthew 24 as being like lightning which strikes from east to west across the sky!
     A driver who fails to be alert may bear an unfortunate consequence, ranging from losing his way, to sliding into the ditch, to a bad motor-vehicle collision.
     There are parallels to spiritual progress.
     Alert spiritual travelers will first of all make sure of their salvation. Then, as a wise road traveler has his atlas open and ready by his side, so the Christian will refer often to Bible instruction as guidance in life. He will not read it only once when beginning his spiritual trip, but will refer to it often and thus to track his course and always know where he is.
     A driver also finds a travel companion very helpful. The Christian, in a similar manner, finds faithful spiritual companions in the Lord, a real help in understanding and interpreting the road map (The Bible) and thus easing the task of spiritual navigation.
     The Christian's spiritual enemy, the devil, seeks to lull believers to sleep, and to cause them to miss those critical road signs, and to drive full speed onto that "black ice." Consequences are huge for failing to remain alert. We cannot afford this in our spiritual lives! But thanks to God, He has provided the resources for us to safely arrive. 
     "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:8-11).

- Darrell Martin
   Bancroft, Ontario