Watch Out- All the Time!
Gale and I have worked hard all day today putting up sweet corn from our garden. I got out and pulled it early this morning and managed to beat the heat of the day. But that was only a small part of the process; it is an all day affair. Thankfully our son in law and a couple of the grandkids dropped by and helped, although Mallory talked much more efficiently than she worked!
Gardening has gone pretty well so far this year with the exception of tomatoes; I have never had as much disease problems with them as I have had this year. But vegetable gardening always has a few disappointments along the way.
I think back to several years ago when I went out to check things out to see how my vegetables were progressing. Everything looked pretty good as far as I could tell. That is, until I noticed something present that was unwelcome—a snake! As it lay there with tongue moving rapidly in and out of its mouth, I was quickly developing my plan of action. I possess a valid Georgia Weapons Carry License, but that made no difference to the viper since I was unarmed at the time. I have various long handled yard and garden tools, but they provided no defense either for they were all safely locked up in the shed behind the house. All I had was my bare hands, but I elected not to use them for that particular task.
The critter wasn’t moving as I headed to get a hoe to expel him from the premises. But when I returned, prepared for battle, my opponent had outwitted me—he was nowhere to be found!
Following a few minutes of slowly walking and carefully looking around the garden plot for the creature I finally gave up the pursuit. That left me with a dilemma—the ground would soon be covered with lush vegetation and I would be out there picking squash and butterbeans, and digging potatoes with the realization that the snake got away. And chances are he had a few kinfolk in the vicinity too. That meant I would be watching my every step!
By seeing what I saw, I was reminded of the need to be on the watch, yet realizing that what we do not see can also be of extreme danger. The hidden threats that give no prior warning can strike when we least expect it. And such hidden dangers are not confined to the material world; there are hidden spiritual dangers and threats that we must stay aware of so that we are not brought down by the deceptions, tricks, and attacks of the enemy of our souls that we know as Satan, the devil.
Peter, one of the first followers of Christ, penned a powerful reminder to us regarding our spiritual alertness to the dangers of sin. Although he wrote these words 2000 years ago, they are still every bit as pertinent to our lives today as they were to his original recipients: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, New International Version).
If we are not spiritually alert our defenses are down; when we are not alert our ability to counter spiritual attacks is dulled, causing us to be vulnerable to what is coming against us. Peter’s next verse gives guidance as to how we can be victorious over Satan who seeks to destroy us just as a roaring lion would his victim: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”
I never saw that hideous looking snake that was relaxing in my garden again, but that did not mean he was not out there somewhere. Rest assured that I still keep a watchful eye out for snakes even if that sighting was a long time ago. And we need to remember, too, that there is a bigger threat out there who wants to do us spiritual harm. We must stay alert, keeping our faith in our Lord strong, lest we become devoured by the trickery of Satan.