Keep Your Wits About You

Today’s information dump from my brain into yours could seem pretty much just strictly spiritual advice. But even if you’re not in the mood for religion, stick around, because it has some seriously practical applications in daily life, too.

Anyway, I have two great biblical passages to share with you on today’s theme. For those with attention deficit issues (and if you’ve got those, you’ve definitely come to the wrong blog; I post way too long most days), they’re short, so don’t worry.


Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Gospel of Matthew, chapter 10, verse 16, King James version

And then,

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. First Peter, chapter 5, verse 8, King James version

In the Christian’s attempt to overcome the world and spread the gospel, both of the above passages are critical. Do not go out into the world naive about what you face. Kenny Rogers sang in “The Gambler” that: You need to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em; know when to walk away, know when to run.

We must be peaceful whenever possible, which pretty much mean almost all the time. But at the same time, be aware and be watchful. Don’t be caught off guard and don’t be afraid to be wary or even cynical at times. Be willing and able to see the best in people; don’t assume that people are good though.

The second passage covers a lot of the same themes as the first, but with a more specific slant toward not letting Satan get too many good licks in on you, nor any of his servants (whether his actual servants or just folks he nudges your way to mess you up). But it adds another wrinkle: Be sober.

No, I’m not saying you have to be a teetotaller. God knows I’m not. Only reason I don’t have a beer every day or two is that my work and Little Girl Blue don’t really allow for much of that, and I’m paranoid about driving with any alcohol in my blood. I like a good drink now and again. But drinking doesn’t mean drunk. Any time you let alcohol or drugs get your senses and your judgment muddled, you open yourself to being attacked and to doing things that can really set you down a bad path.

Also remember that being sober isn’t just about intoxication. It’s also about things like covetousness, lust, passion and the like getting ahold of you in a big way. Don’t go overboard on such things because when they consume you, they can mess up your ability to be harmless, wise and/or vigilant like nobody’s business.

So, what does this mean for the non-Christian, who doesn’t have any reason to spread the gospel and doesn’t believe in Satan or maybe any devils at all? Well, even if you don’t believe in supernatural forces, you still have devils in your life. Might be an adversary or competitor. Might be a boss or a subordinate. Might be a bitter spouse or an angry ex. Might be a random criminal or someone you trust who is waiting to betray you.

Just be sober. Be vigilant. Be peaceful and be wise.

Just be careful out there.

6 Responses to “Keep Your Wits About You”

  1. 1 WNG
    August 1, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Thank you – I needed that.

  2. 2 Dovely
    August 1, 2008 at 10:59 am


    I am new here and fairly new in my faith…I am learning how difficult and pertinent it is for Christians to have these attitudes and characterists at the same time. Difficult to do and requires a lot of work….I like these verses you listed!

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    August 1, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    @ WNG:

    Me, too. Every damn day.

    @ Dovely:

    Welcome. Hope I don’t scare you away. It wasn’t that long ago I was new too (I was raised in the church but I just went through the motions and didn’t really come to God with my heart and soul, and really understand and accept Jesus, until about 12 years ago, so as far as I’m concerned, the first 28 years don’t count for much spiritually). So, I understand what you’re feeling right now. Wish I could say it ever STOPS being a lot of work, but I can’t

  4. 4 Dovely
    August 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Going through the motions is correct for me too. I was raised in the church but the only thing I learned were songs to sing in the church Sunday morning. Therefore, I am starting from scratch…thanks for the welcome!

  5. August 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I just had a discussion in Vacation Bible School about how wary Christians should be. Whether our charge to “show ourselves friendly” means that we need to actively seek out contact with other people, even people who could hurt us. The preacher didn’t say we should be stupid, but he said too many of us are tryng to protect ourselves when we should be depending on God’s protection. I didn’t agree with the minister at the time, and I’ve been thinking about the issue ever since.

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    August 1, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I think some boldness is needed (and a lot of that depends on a person’s individual personality) in certain situations…but I think that one still needs to be aware and alert. Having faith in God doesn’t mean we stop paying attention, and I hope the preacher wasn’t advocating walking into proverbial lion’s dens without keeping a firm grasp on who’s where and what’s what.

    I always come back to “faith without works is dead, being alone.”

    Faith is the most important thing, but we also have to do our part.

    Want a job? Have faith that God will provide one…as you send out resumes and make phone calls and network.

    Going to preach the gospel in a part of town where people get stabbed on the regular? Have faith that God will protect you, but keep your eyes on those alleys and any hard-looking cats that might slip behind you.

    That’s my take, anyway. Not sure the preacher was thinking quite so starkly; maybe he meant more about being willing to open ourselves to potential verbal or emotional hurt. But still, I think one should be aware and alert so that if we do take hits, we take them well.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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