In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith….” We must never forget that the devil is always on the prowl, waiting for us to drop our guard and fall asleep on the job so he can stealthily find an entrance into our lives. In our moments of complacency, we are especially vulnerable. The enemy of your soul is constantly poised to exploit any perceivable weakness, and when he makes his move, it is often with devastating consequences. Therefore, we must perpetually remain on guard — diligent, wide-awake, and doing our part to protect ourselves from the evil lurking in the shadows.
How does one remain spiritually alert and of sober mind? This question must be answered accurately, because it seems that a lot of followers of Jesus deceive themselves by thinking that it is God’s job alone to protect them from the devil. Many a Christian has fallen prey to Satan’s temptations merely because they live as though there is no real danger “out there.” They live unintentionally when it comes to their walk with God.
One important and specific way to be spiritually alert is to be vigilant about not exposing ourselves to environments that have spiritually negative consequences. An integral part of being vigilant is to stay away from places, events, and people that are detrimental to our spiritual lives. This isn’t being judgmental, but it IS making a judgment call. For instance, stay away from immoral films and web sites that stir carnal passions and arouse temptation. Separate yourself from others whose lower standard of holiness and lack of concern for the things of God might lead you to sin against God. Avoid situations and people that will influence you to overindulge with alcohol or drugs, even if they are legal. I recently heard a news report regarding research as to when people are most likely to be introduced to substances leading to addiction. The research discovered that most people first tried alcohol, weed, and drugs such as cocaine or heroin during the summertime at a party with friends.
The Bible makes it clear that it is our duty to avoid anything that is opposed to a life of holiness. By doing so, we fulfill our part in protecting ourselves from the evil in the world, and we become an influencer for what is good. This is our responsibility, and God expects us to fulfill it seriously. In the animal kingdom, an antelope that carelessly grazes too close to a lion is killed and eaten. There’s a reason why once an antelope hears, sees, or smells a lion it takes off running in the opposite direction. Distance from an enemy is good.
Take this as a wake-up call for you to be more vigilant about where you go, what you do, and with whom you spend time. Let the Bible’s message and the Holy Spirit’s conviction speak to you about walking in greater spiritual freedom and holiness. There are places, events, and people that are spiritually detrimental to your future. Rather than put yourself in spiritual jeopardy by allowing these things in your life, it is safer to put distance between them and yourself.
So I ask you — are you sensibly putting space between yourself and detrimental places, events, and people that aren’t healthy for you? Be alert. Keep a sober mind. Stand in the Biblical faith.