Luke 21:34-36 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
This weekend I was stuck on the definition of vigilant. Before I sing at Mass, I like to review the readings for Sunday. As I was going through the readings last week, I got stuck on what vigilant means. As I sat in Mass, the priest pointed out vigilant in the scripture which immediately made me ponder again, “What does vigilant mean to me?” When I first read it, the first word that came to mind was prepared. Get prepared for the day that God returns to the earth. Be ready. Be on guard. Vigilance was like the Roman soldier guarding the gate. I stand strong and stern. I stand armored with protection. I stand with weapons ready. Okay, so I am a Roman guard, I tell myself. Kind of makes me chuckle because I am far from being a guard of any sort. Just my flabby arms and cellulite alone would show the enemy that I am not ready for any battle except maybe over food. Would evil see right through my sinfulness and take me down with no problem? It makes me a little nervous thinking about how unprepared I am for evil.
So, today I am going to break this down piece by piece to see how I can become more vigilant for God.
Strong and Stern: Placing God in my day each day by reading scripture or reflecting on His word gives me the strength to really apply his teaching to my life. Each day that I do this, I conquer my own sin in little ways. Baby steps. Allow God to take over and once again decrease me while increasing Him. Being stern doesn’t have to mean being stubborn. I like to think it means we stay strong in what we believe, but are open to allowing God to change the plan at any time. We are stern in faith, but open in our hearts for God.
Armored with Protection: My armor is God’s Word: If I do not stay close to God and His Word in the bible, then I am allowing my armor to fall. How can I do this? Daily reflections, daily readings, bible studies, talking with friends about Sunday sermons, and engulfing myself in God’s Word all armor me with protection. This doesn’t mean you have to memorize scripture (but that isn’t a bad idea). It does mean that scripture will be so close to your heart that when a difficult situation comes upon you, you will immediately think of a scripture to get you through it. I have just recently come upon this. Blogging has allowed me to dive into scripture not just by reading it, but by living it. I may not know the exact place in the bible that the scripture comes from, but I know the gist of the scripture. Don’t get me wrong, I fail all the time. I forget to call on God’s Word when I make a decision, but I am aware of that now. Being aware that you faltered is a great first step to allowing God in your life. Allow yourself mistakes, but armor yourself with God’s Word at all times.
Weapons Ready: So this is a little easier for a writer and speaker of God’s Word, but it is available to us all in different ways. I personally, find that writing and preparing talks about God give me the weapons I need to battle effectively. I am constantly learning and exploring different ways to live out my faith. Anyone can do this – it is just a little more effort when your ministry (or career) isn’t centered upon God. Listening to Christian Radio is a great way to do this. Music can really have an impact on our lives. Playing Christian Music in the car (especially for all of us carpooling Mamas) can really change your attitude. Try it! Somehow all those messages just seep into your brain. Bible Studies are a great resource to ready your weapons. Studying and learning from others about God can truly enrich (or sharpen) your weapons to battle evil. Attending workshops with Christian speakers can give you a jump start in your faith life. Check out my website for resources on different venues that offer speakers all across the nation (www.makingroomforgod.com). When I first started writing, I was uncertain of my path that God was calling me down. I think one might call it doubt. At about this time, I had signed up with a friend to attend a REVOLVE Tour. For all of you, who are not familiar with Women of Faith Tours, check them out! REVOLVE is for teenage girls and their mothers. It was a fabulous day that changed my life (and it was supposed to change my daughter’s life). Not only did I finally have the confidence to publish my book, but it became clear to me that I need to start speaking to mothers to help them ready their weapons for evil. Never discount the importance of hearing other’s speak on his/her own life journey to change your journey.
Piecing all this together made me realize that vigilance involves action. Being passive and letting life pass us by is not vigilance. In fact it is the exact opposite. Each Sunday that you allow the day to go by without worshipping God, you are being passive. Each day that you go without talking or reaching out to God, you are being passive. Each time someone invites you to hear a Christian speaker and you decline (for no reason), you are being passive. Each time you turn on the radio and listen to junk, you are being passive. Your armor will become useless and your weapons will disappear. Don’t make the choice to be passive, be active. Exercise your soul and I am certain you will become strong and stern, armored with protection and ready to battle.