When in the space of three verses, Jesus says to “be on guard” and “be alert,” we need to sit up and take notice.
Let’s look at what Jesus said and then apply it to our lives.
–– Luke 21.34-36 – “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap.
“For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
“Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Be on Guard
The people of God have been waiting for the events of the End Times for over 2000 years. Jesus had important counsel for his people concerning guarding our relationship with him.
(1) Pay attention to the state of your inside condition.
The “heart” or our inner self is the place where we trust God with our lives or take matters into our own hands.
King David asked God to align his heart with God’s purposes in Psalm 51.
— Psalm 51.6 – You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
As we determine to guard our hearts, we do well to frequently ask God to reveal his wisdom to our inner self.
— Psalm 51.10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
The Psalm writer said, “Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain” (Psalm 127.1).
If our heart is to be protected, only God can do it. That is why we ask him to create in us a clean heart.
The “pure in heart” (Matthew 5.8) are focused on one thing. They are not “double-minded and unstable in every way” (James 1.7).
Those who entrust the protection of their hearts to God, have God as their “Plan A.” They are focused on God and don’t have a “Plan B” in the background.
They join King David and pray for a heart and a spirit that is aligned with God’s purpose.
(2) They refrain from “dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.”
In the Greek language, “dissipation” refers to binge drinking or the headache that comes from excessive drinking.
Jesus warns his followers to not engage in behavior that caters to the pleasures of life. If we do, we run the risk of resembling a problem passage in the Parable of the Sower.
— Luke 8.14 – “As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”
If we keep the purpose for which God created us in mind, we will pray like King David and heed Jesus’ warning.
God created us to live in the same kind of love that is present with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We guard our hearts, so we can better embrace the loving heart of God.
Jesus said, “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21.36).
Some people must “be alert,” because they have become so prosperous that they are tempted to stop following Jesus so they can enjoy possessions and pleasures.
The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12.13-21) highlights why we need to be alert when we become prosperous. The man worked his entire life to amass a fortune, only to die and face God who called him a “fool.”
The Bible calls a person a “fool,” when they are convinced that they can live as they please and face no accountability for their actions.
Other people must be alert, because of the persecution and tribulation they face.
The way to stay alert is through prayer.
Pray Without Ceasing
It is for good reason that Paul wrote, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17).
Continual contact with God will provide us the resources to make sure our heart-attitude is in alignment with God.
It is the best way to stay alert. It is also God’s greatest gift to us.
Frank Laubach spent years attempting to obey Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing.” Laubach was one of the greatest Christians of the previous century.
His story began with a time of deep depression and loneliness but ended with a vibrant ministry and rare intimacy with God.
I try to stay in contact with God throughout the day. I recommend that you try this, too.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage in today’s YouTube video. Please join us on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.