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Have you ever noticed that God often uses you when you least expect it?  You might be dreading an upcoming situation, conversation, meeting or presentation - only to find that God uses that particular circumstance powerfully in your life and for His Kingdom.  The life and power of the Kingdom of God are not reliant on you.  However, God does use you, and being spiritually alert helps you to discern God's activity and to cooperate with what He is doing.

 

When Jesus spoke of the last days, He indicated that temptations and confusion would increase.  He warned that we be careful [alert] so our hearts do not become weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness or the anxieties of life. (Luke 21:34)  When there is too much going on, we can become overwhelmed and frozen, or we can become hurried and harried - running in too many directions.  The potency of our lives dissipates - disperses, scatters, dissolves; it's as if our lives are falling apart.  This can cause deep feelings of anxiety, worry and doubt.  In despair we may be tempted or drawn to the ever-present escape of entertainment, or trapped in drunkenness.

 

Doesn't it seem like many people are being weighed down today?  When Jesus was weighed down with difficulty and feelings of depression, He called on His closest spiritual comrades to pray with and for Him.  He told them to "Watch and pray, so that they would not fall into temptation." (Matthew 26:41)  We need to be alert to what the enemy is doing, and pray for God's power to overcome those things (1 Peter 5-9); and we need to be alert to what God's activity and join in and bless what He is doing.

 

We are also called to be alert and praying for others who believe in Jesus. (Ephesians 6:18)  We may not realize it, but we all live on the battlefields of constant spiritual warfare.  It may not "feel" spiritual at all.  The battles usually come in the form of negative or accusatory thoughts, or dark and hopeless feelings.  They may seem like our own thoughts and feelings, though often they are temptations from without.  We need to pray for each other to be alert and discerning, so we can know what thoughts and feelings to embrace and what to resist - we need God's help!

 

Lastly, we need to be alert and pray for those in our lives who don't seem to be looking for God at all.  The life of Christ in us cares for those who don't know their right from their left (Jonah 4:11), who don't know what they are doing (Luke 23:34) and who live like sheep without a Shepherd (Matthew 9:36).  Our prayers for God's mercy and His awakening in their lives can change everything.  Are you willing to stay awake to pray for those who right now are often staying awake to sin?

 

Staying awake with you,

Pastor Tom

tgriffith@rolcboston.org

www.rolcboston.org 

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