A Warning to Every Follower
We often hear what we want to hear. Conveniently, we screen messages, and we seek to ignore or overlook those we don’t like. And the Apostle Peter gave one message that we forget all too easily. But it came back to me this morning.
I live in a development that has been a delight to me. A greenbelt of trees issuing from a creek followed the fieldstone ridge of a prairie now filled with homes. When I arrived in the neighborhood almost 20 years ago, I embraced the wild edge of our cul-de-sac, and my battle with armadillos has been well-documented! I still roam the yard in the darkness most mornings. It’s part of my wake-up ritual and my affection for my farming roots. In fact, Kelly will ask mockingly, “Farmer Bruce checking on the back 40?” We chuckle at each other.
In the last few days, I have seen opossums, raccoons, rabbits, and an EVIDENCE of armadillos in my yard. But this morning, Kelly joined me for a few minutes, and I spotted a silent, still barred owl in my biggest tree. He was magnificent. His voice is unique, and I have grown quite fond of his nighttime calls. These “visitors” have reminded me of Peter’s warning to the early church and, vicariously, to us.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
We need to practice what my police friends call “Situational Awareness.” We pay attention to our surroundings, to the actions of others, to the setting we occupy, and to the risks at hand. I have avoided riskier situations because I recognized signs that we weren’t in a good position to seek safety. I felt that in a declining neighborhood. I have felt that in another country where the gazes of others told me that we were not welcome. But I don’t pay enough attention to how the Tempter is constantly plotting for our demise, distraction, or doubt. So, Peter’s warning is timely. “Stay alert! Watch out. . .”
As we review the news, we need to stay alert. As we interact with people and make choices about our behavior, we must stay alert. Said most people when they had their greatest failure: “I didn’t see it coming.”