Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” - Luke 21:36 (NLT)
On my way to church yesterday, I noticed a bird on the wires overhead. As I drove closer, I recognized a hawk, and because it was raining, I assumed its head was bowed to stave off the elements. As I got even closer however, I saw that it was not in a complacent or even self-protective stance at all, but was very closely studying something in the bushes across the road.
I received a message instantly about my mistake; it was directed at people like me who jump to conclusions about a person's demeanor, instead of relying on and sharpening my discernment. Sometimes we will see someone in prayer, with their head bowed, and even though we may know them very well and know that they have one of the sharpest discerning spirits around, we may still assume that in that moment of prayer their guard may be down. It may be at that moment however, when they may be at their sharpest, most aware of whatever and whomever is around them. They may even be praying for that situation that you have shared with no one, but God dropped it into their basket, and they're being obedient to His command to pray you through it. Don't mistake their demeanor for weakness or distraction.
As I began typing this message I received another message. Just because your situation has calmed down, don't think that the enemy isn't studying you, looking for another way in. The scriptures do warn us that he is like a roaring lion, roaming about, seeking whom he may devour. The lion's roar is a warning to put your guard up and get somewhere safe, but what if he doesn't roar, and like the hawk is silently watching your every move, waiting for the opportune moment to pounce? That's when the scripture Matthew 24:43-44a (MSG) becomes applicable: "But you do know this: you know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that." Always be on guard where the enemy is concerned, never let your guard down. And when you become weary, ask the Holy Spirit to stand watch over your soul, He's always on post.