We Must Be Vigilant

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, New International Version)

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, New Living Translation)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep a clear head, and set your hope completely on the grace to be given you when Jesus, the Messiah, is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13, International Standard Version)

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6, English Standard Version)

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12, New International Version)

There is nothing passive about the above referenced scriptures. Everything about these scriptures gives the image of a Believer who is alert, who is watchful (sober) or in the Greek context “nepho”; someone who abstains from wine or beverages (anything) that would dull their senses or distract them. The scriptures suggest that the Believer would not be caught off guard or caught slumbering but ready to offend whatever comes.

Imagine your disposition, how keen your senses if you knew that an enemy was lurking outside your door to kill you and yours. The enemy is looking for any breach, crack or gap to gain access and entry into your home, your mind, or your heart. How would you protect yourself? Your family?

If from reading these scriptures you still have an imagery of Satan as a red, pitch fork-carrying caricature with horns and tail who passively pursues you, then you have underestimated your enemy. The enemy is intentionally prowling around, looking for that easy access, that one moment of someone letting down their guard. Where will you compromise and make concessions? Like a prowling lion, your enemy seeks to pick off the weakest sheep from the flock for its prey.

Your enemy plants thoughts that become plots. Your enemy could care less about you, how old or young you are. Your enemy kills 17-month-old babies and pregnant women. He is a murderer, capable of unimaginable horror. He inspires actions, text messages and graphic images that result in careers, marriages and lives destroyed. He plants lies in your mind to make you distrust God and thereby take matters into your own hands. He intently seeks to impose fear upon you, to make you cower and submit to defeat.

Many view the follower of Jesus Christ as passive. Though we desire to be obedient to God, meek, kind and loving toward others, this does not mean we let down our guard. We are ever-discerning, we are wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16), we are guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), we put on our spiritual armor daily to guard against the wiles of the devil and thwart his fiery darts. We also war against him in prayer, praise and through speaking scripture back to him.

Remember even Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, the enemy relentlessly tempting him while He fasted. Jesus rebuked and responded to Satan with scripture and authority. We must do the same. In response to this Matthew 4:11 says, Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (New International Version)

Armor of God

This message is that of a team huddle or a war room strategy for the saints.

We must be vigilant. As wickedness increases, I am telling you, the Body of Christ, to gird your loins. Guard against appeasing worldly culture, for you will soon begin to look like it and it will always take you further than you wanted to go. We are called to be holy; sanctified for God’s purposes and set apart from the world.

Be alert, sober and be prepared to stand against every onslaught, deception and temptation. Do not be caught off guard. Do not be caught slumbering. Your enemy, the devil, is waiting to seize any opportunity that you find it okay to welcome that errant thought, embrace laziness, or slack in your spiritual growth. He’s looking for that chink in your armor, your area of weakness that will prevent your success.

Be alert and stay alert. Stay vigilant. That means step up your prayer life. Pray with authority and unshakable faith. Put on your spiritual armor before you begin your day (Ephesians 6:13-17). Meditate on God’s Word day and night so you may be successful (Joshua 1:8) and also know how to call up God’s Word at any moment to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means sealing up breaches in your behavior, character, emotions, lifestyle and thought life that would give the enemy the opportunity to ensnare you. This means giving Godly counsel to others you see as prey for the enemy due to destructive choices they are making. This means telling the devil in your Godly authority, “You are not welcome here.”

Love and blessings,

Nicole

For more on this, read our article “The Believer’s Disposition/Posture.”

 

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God-Appointed and Hated

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – John 15:18 (New International Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Since the moment you asked Jesus Christ to be yours and He made you His, you’ve had a target on your back.  Make no mistake: your enemy Satan hates you. The very fact you are a mouthpiece, a living testimony of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, moving throughout the earth empowering and equipping other believers, you have stirred your greatest adversary to seek your destruction. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (New International Version). Don’t believe the devil is real? Enter a room speaking love and correction where occupants are backbiting and gossiping. Lift up the name of Jesus in a non-believing environment. Note the atmosphere shift. Stand up to illegal activities and injustices. Call popular worldly and accepted norms ungodly. Hold the unaccountable accountable. Note how many slip a Valentine’s Day card into your shoebox.  🙂 We don’t typically move into these spaces with people greeting us with arms wide open.

Backside of Voices Against the Grain t-shirt. We'll get you one too!

Backside of Voices Against the Grain t-shirt. We’ll get you one too!

As a Christian, you’ve been called specifically to bring light, restoration and truth to areas of darkness the enemy has long and comfortably occupied. You are shaking up and reclaiming this territory for God’s Kingdom. We enter the fight knowing we will face attacks head-on presented by our adversary. Satan will seek to discourage us so we won’t move.  He knows every time we move in God, life and light is put forth and swallows up darkness.

The devil does not want us to do anything that brings people closer to God. We are proxy authorities—we don’t always perfectly represent God, but we are growing in our authority and as special missionaries of God. Satan can only work with our imperfections, but Satan doesn’t know what the Spirit of God is doing. We’ve been appointed by God. 

The good news: You belong in the space God has sent you to occupy. God has made you worthy. God’s decisions are flawless, incorruptible. God’s election of His people is incorruptible. Stay staunch!

If you do not have such an adversary, you have a greater problem: If you’re not operating in the true freedom, peace and abundant life which are some of the blessings of being a co-worker with Christ, then you’ve been comfortably lulled into being a co-worker with Satan, whose counterfeit offerings of “freedom” will enslave and wreck you As Jesus said in John 10: 9-10, “Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (The Message Bible)