September 9, 2019. Ephesians 6:18. Stand part 12: Keep Alert.

Ephesians 6:18. praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

To pray is to be alert. If you don’t pray much, you’re probably clueless to the spirit realm around you. You’re just earthly minded. Seeing with your eyes only, not faith.

But when we pray we grow in our awareness of what is truly happening all around. Being alert provokes our perseverance. In prayer we know that we are not out of the woods. We know the dangers that surround us as individuals and the church of Christ.

Keep alert…not like this

Paul’s language echoes that of our Savior, who, speaking to his disciples told them to stay alert:

Luke 21:34-36. 34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

This is what being in Christ has done for us, it has made us aware of our need to stay alert, and it allows us to actually stay alert. Our union with Christ has given us a life beyond this life. It has given us an escape from the temptations of this life.

Alert to the Devil

The Devil would have us weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the cares of this life (Luke 21:34 and Ephesians 5:18). He wants to trap us in his schemes. But Christ in us allows us to be aware of his tricks. Christ in us is truth in us. And only by this truth is a person able to recognize the lies of the Enemy. When Jesus told them to pray that they would have the strength to escape whose strength were they to pray for? Their own? Of course not. Christ in us alone allows us to have the strength that it takes to escape the prowling Lion that would destroy us.

Alert to Christ

But this life isn’t only about standing up to the Devil today. It’s about standing in front of Jesus in eternity. We must keep alert because one day we will stand before the Son of Man. And on that day we will be judged for one thing. Did we persevere in our faith in the Lord Jesus as our Savior?

Recently in the Christian world there’s been talk of some high profile Christians who have abandoned their faith in Christ. On a personal level, I’m sure we all know some that were once on fire for Jesus who now doubt the very existence of God himself, much less his redemptive plan in Christ.

These will not stand. They did not stand in this life against Satan, and so they will not stand in the next before Jesus. I don’t say this to sound mean or harsh. My heart breaks for all those who wrestle with doubts. I wrestle with my faith constantly.

But what makes the difference?

Why do some not stand?

Because they don’t keep alert. They don’t pray in the Spirit. Constant communion with God is the ONLY way to stand in this life and the next. Communion with God through constant persevering faith in Christ and in his work for us on the cross. This is what prayer in the Spirit looks like.

Alert to one another

Stand. Keep alert. And then what? Make supplication for all the saints. We must be alert to the trials and temptations of each other.

Would you pray for me that my faith would persevere? That I would stay alert? Some of you may not even know me (except through this blog), but I need you to pray for me. And I for you. Can we do that? Can we pray for each other to stand?

Who do you know today whose faith is crumbling? Who do you know that is standing in their own pride and sinful self-righteousness? Who around you is overcome by temptation and grief? Who is susceptible to the tricks of the Evil One? Will you pray for these?

As the days get increasingly evil, increasingly we must pray. Pray for hearts that long for the return of Christ. But also for hearts that will stand in love and grace as bright lights in a dark world. This is what “to live is Christ” calls us to. An alert faith. An active faith. A persevering trust in our Savior and his promises until all things are brought under his authority for all eternity.

An oldy but a goody.

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