We are encouraged by the apostle Peter in the verse above to be self-controlled and alert.
The Greek word for self-controlled is nēphō. This word means:
1) to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit
2) to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
The Greek word for alert is grēgoreō. This word means:
1) to watch
2) metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active
a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one
We really need to be careful in our daily walk as Christians. We need to be sober-minded and calm, mature in our lives and give extra care to watch for the things around us that can cause us to stumble and fall.
God is not the author of sin. The enemy is. The devil will place any snares he can around us to trip us up and draw us away from the straight and narrow path we should be on with God.
Sometimes, as in a few situations listed below, it may be hard to recognize the devil prowling about. These small snares he sets can turn into situations where he can devour us if we are not careful.
The Greek word for devour is katapinō, which means:
1) to drink down, swallow down
2) to devour
3) to swallow up, destroy
We need to be on guard so that we won't be swallowed up by these snares.
"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." ~ Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
When someone starts a sentence with, "I told so-and-so I wouldn't tell anyone this, but..." Stop them right there and say, "I'll help you keep your promise, then. By the way, your hair looks great today!" A quick change in subject is sometimes all that is needed. Don't fall into the pit of gossip. I have been guilty of it and it's so easy to say, "I won't tell a soul, now, spill it!" That's exactly what the devil would love us to do. We need to nip it in the bud. Don't speak it and try your hardest not to listen to it. If you are in a situation where gossip is going on and you cannot leave or turn the conversation around, remain silent at best. I'm learning and growing here.
"Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." ~ Proverbs 11:22 (NIV)
Do you or someone you know seem to run on high-octane drama? It's always something, all the time. There's never any good news to report, only the bad. There's always a situation going on and things are never calm and peaceful in their lives.
God longs for us to show discretion in our conversations. More on that in an upcoming post, but the devil longs for us to just fuel each other's fire with the drama in our lives. Let's choose to share the good and positive things in our lives. Truly, we should discuss the bad, but weigh it. Put your thoughts and words on the scales and see if the positive weighs more than the negative. Make the changes needed so the devil doesn't pounce. I'm learning and growing here by watching my words and what I choose to share with others. A quick check of my motives behind sharing what I share helps!
"Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." ~ 1 John 5:21 (NIV)
Idols are false gods and can come in the form of everything from the books we read to the shows we watch on television. Is there a show that comes on that you just can't live without? Turn it off one night and don't DVR it. Your life will not end, I can promise you that. Well, unless something else happens, but you know what I mean. Is there a magazine you just have to buy everytime you hit the supermarket? Don't buy it for one week or month and see that you can survive without it. Is there a food that you have to have every day or a drink (oh, coffee, sweet coffee!) that you just can't do without? Give it up for a day and read your Bible instead.
You'll find out whether these things, and more that you can probably think of, are idols in your life or not by the way you react to not having these things in your life for a short period of time. I'm learning and growing here. I have a few things I need to chuck or devote less time to, at the least.
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." ~ 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
Our words and mannerisms need to be as pure and holy as possible. One of the best ways we can do this is by guarding our hearts and minds.
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." ~ Luke 6:45 (NIV)
The Greek word for good is agathos. It means:
1) of good constitution or nature
2) useful, salutary
3) good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy
4) excellent, distinguished
5) upright, honourable
When we set these things before us, we can walk and talk in the purity of Christ, leaving filthy language and actions behind and live holy lives. We can monitor what goes into our hearts, minds and bodies and use God's Word as a gauge for doing so.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." ~ Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
When we fill our minds with pure things, our words and actions can be pure. If what we read, watch or hear isn't pure, you can bet impurity will be coming from us soon.
The Greek word for pure is hagnos. This word means:
1) exciting reverence, venerable, sacred
a) pure from carnality, chaste, modest
b) pure from every fault, immaculate
Being pure is never boring. As we seek to serve our Savior by living pure lives, we are constantly on guard against the devils schemes to trap us into apathy regarding impurity. I'm learning and growing here. I'm trying to monitor the books that I read and the shows I watch on television. I don't buy certain magazines anymore and there are several things I have cut out of my life that have helped. I still have a lot to do in this area, though.
We need to be hyper-aware of the small things that so easily entangle our lives.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." ~ Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)