ON GUARD

'Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.'

1 Peter 5:8-11 Message

Me and a group of ladies have been going through the book 'Fervant' by Pricilla Shirer. The entire book focuses on the schemes of the enemy in our lives and how to combat them with specific prayer. Needless to say these verses have been on my heart.

It's kinda scary/creepy to think about the devil ready to pounce, but on the other hand the reason we are given this warning is so we can be aware and ready---not found napping like the passage says.

When I read passages like this, I tend to think of them in these terms. There is aproblem: the devil is after Christians to make them mess up---to sin, to feel guilty, feel shame, then be powerless and feel hopeless and waste their lives. So what is the solution? It says the solution, as Christians, is to keep our guard up, but how do we do this practically, in day to day life? Looking at scripture like this helps me see my weaknesses and helps me address them.

So, how do we keep our guard up?

1) Be sober or Well Balanced and Self-Disciplined

We all know what it feels like when life is out of balance, when we have lost our self control. It doesn't feel good. These words sober, well balanced and self disciplined don't mean we can never have any fun, just that maybe we shouldn't watch 3 hours of Netflix if we haven't put any attention to reading God's word that day. That's a little unbalanced, and the way we think will show it fast.

2) Be Alert and Cautious at All Times.

Pray. We talk about praying, but the discipline of prayer is hard work. Journaling my prayers helps me a ton, when I write things down I have a greater chance of not loosing my train of thought or getting distracted. I have found writing out prayers on the notes section of my phone throughout the day has been extremely helpful. Writing out prayers can keep us conscious of God and can give us a way to go to God with what's on my mind and heart throughout the day.

3) Be Rooted, Established, Immovable- Keep a Firm Grip on Your Faith

Go to verses. I have them for when I cannot figure out what God is doing. One of them is Romans 8:28, "For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose." This verse reminds me that God is not against me or punishing me but that He can see things I cannot see and wants the absolute best for my life.

Friends can also be fundamental in keeping a firm grip on our faith. My husband and I have had times when we needed looked at each other in the eyes and say, "No this doesn't make sense but God is still good." There is power in having another person speak truth into our lives.

Go to verses and/or friends that can remind you of the truth are essential for remaining established in your faith.

4) Remember, You Are Not Alone

One of the biggest tricks the enemy can pull on us is making us believe we are the only one that struggles with ________. No matter what our struggle, there are others who struggle with this sin or temptation as well. When we remember this, we feel less overwhelmed and willing to be vulnerable on our Christians relationships.

Its really all about doing what we all know we should be doing, spending time with God, praying, and being in community with other believers. Isn't it ironic, though, how easy it is to get sidetracked from these simple things of the faith. I'm thankful for scriptures like the one above. It reminds me how important the little things-the daily acts of obedience are in my walk with God. They keep me from "napping" mentally and spiritually and keep be on guard for whatever the enemy throws my way.