Living without gates or bars.

Jeremiah 49:31: “Rise up, advance against a nation at ease, that dwells securely, declares the LORD, that has no gates or bars, that dwells alone.

The kind of people that are being described in the above verse can be called overconfident, unwatchful and an anything goes-kind of people. This is totally against the recommendation of scriptures where we are told to be sober and vigilant for our enemy the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8).

Jesus Christ chided the lack of watching in prayer of the disciples who chose to sleep and cannot capture the spiritual significance of the moment while they were with him at the garden of Gethsemane. From that Jesus gave them a lesson to the effect that: to not watch and pray is to set yourself to fall into temptation (Matthew 26:37-41).

When you see yourself falling into temptation after temptation, you are to look into two areas of your life. Use a spiritual thermometer to measure the heat your prayer life generates around you and measure the acuity of your sight for watchfulness, from that we can know the degree of your self-awareness. To watch and pray talks about the practical and spiritual guides that you set around yourself so as not to be like the people God was describing that are ripe for destruction in the focus verse.

Get some practical sense and some spiritual sense. Do not be unduly vulnerable to fall into temptation, which would be an opportunity for the one who is “like a roaring lion” to pounce.

The story of Peter comes to mind. Shortly after Jesus told him to watch and pay so as not to fall into temptation, he fell into a grievous one where he denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62). Now go back to when Jesus told Peter that the devil has asked to deal with him, but He had prayed for him, this reveals that the one that is “like a roaring lion,” wanted to devour Peter and would have succeeded because of his lack of watchfulness and his “prayerlessness.”

One thing you should watch is what you watch. Don’t complain of falling into sexual sin when you watch pornographic images. And, prayer comes in handy as it ensures that your soul exists in the condition, the milieu of heaven and is therefore largely insulated from the barrage of influences that the devil seeks to use to pull you away from your devotion to Christ and His tenets.

Paul spoke of the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14) that you should put on so that only righteousness influences your heart. As it is written that we should guard our hearts with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Guard you heart from being unduly influenced by what people say, ensure that you are not the kind of man that is easily rattled. Screen the kinds of information that you expose yourself to, the kind of influences that you subject yourself to.

We are warned against bad companies (1Corinthians 15:33-34). When you don’t shut their influences away from your life, you become vulnerable to a takeover bid, when you over-romance with the competition. When you try to blend in with the crowd, you are only a step away from following them to do evil (Exodus 23:2).

When you refuse to affirm your identity in Christ, you become an anything-goes kind of person with no wall or gates in your life to speak of. When you don’t stand firm in the confession of your faith, you give the room for others to trample on it, because you don’t see it as precious (Matthew 7:6).

We are at war. We should live our lives with battle consciousness. Paul needed to tell the Ephesians that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), because of the possibility of thinking otherwise; the latent possibility for us to be lackadaisical, rather than approach things with the seriousness of the spirit.

When we prioritise prayer we engage the Spirit of grace ((Romans 5:1-2, 1Peter 5:12)), from whom all empowerment comes and we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10), standing in that grace. Let anyone who stands take heed lest he falls, is the divine standing order to be on guard (1Corinthians 10:11-13), not to relapse into a false sense of security, not to be blinded by achievements that you lose sight of the journey ahead.

When the apostles came back from a ministry trip where they cast out devils and healed the sick, Jesus Christ warned them to not get over-excited due to it, but to focus on their relationship with God, rather than on the excitement and the feeling of that comes from achievement (Luke 10: 9, 17, 20).

Because of the importance of watchfulness, God, after giving Paul mind-boggling revelations, that mouth cannot utter, also created for him unsettling circumstances (2Corinthians 12:1-10) (which he called thorn in the flesh) that forced him to look away from those things but seek the grace of God to stand (Romans 5:1-2, 1Peter 5:12). God does not want him to get lulled into a false sense of ease where he does not actively depend on God; He wants him to maintain his edge of watchfulness.

From all the above, we know that it is good to guard the mind and watch our association, to be deliberately selective. We are also to allow the grace of God in through prayer.

The grace of God also comes in through the gate in the word of God (Acts 20:32). Your constant engagement with the word of God, meditating on it, listening to it, reading it, would create dynamism in you, that freshness, that vibrancy that makes you a beehive of spiritual activities with your “sting” in you, your guards up and your energy prepped, making you unattractive for an opportunistic takeover by the enemy’s armies.

WordFromGod: if I have taken you over no one else can.

 

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