Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you (v.16).
On a recent family trip to the mountains, we were driving late at night through thickly wooded areas. A small bright gleam to the left captured our attention, and my husband quickly slowed the car as two deer leaped across our path. We took that teachable moment to explain to our kids the power of peripheral vision—giving them insight to use one day when they’re behind the wheel.
Our spiritual journey can often resemble a drive through mountainous regions in the dark of night. Unable to see the future, we encounter unexpected challenges, sharp curves, and steep grades in the road of life. With that in mind, Paul was preparing his spiritual son Timothy for everyday decisions, as well as for ministry. He wanted him to know the importance of keeping his vision in the right places (1 Timothy 4:13) and to be watchful of peripheral dangers (2 Timothy 2:16).
While the enemy’s attacks often come in the aggressive posturing of a lion (1 Peter 1:8), he also specializes in catching us unaware (Matthew 7:15; 2 Corinthians 2:14). We can’t live in fear—to do so is to pull over on the road of life and refuse to move forward. But we can find the fulfillment that God’s Word promises when we travel in the direction of His leading, remaining aware of the spiritual realm in which we live (Ephesians 6:10).
Certainly, our lives can be drastically altered if we refuse to deal with an egregious area of sin. Just as dangerous, though, are the little areas of compromise (Song of Solomon 2:15). Scripture admonishes us: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. . . . Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:15).
Live prepared (1 Peter 1:13).
Read Deuteronomy 4:1 to see the relationship between remembrance and obedience and how they can keep us from falling prey to the enemy’s lies.
In what area has the enemy blindsided you in the past? How can you keep your spiritual vision focused and clear?