1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
Peter may well have remembered the Lord's appeal to him and his companions in the garden of Gethsemane, "Could ye not watch with me one hour?' And his failure upon that occasion to exercise this virtue, connected as it was with the reproach of his Divine Friend, may well have deepened his sense of the importance of the Christian virtue which he in this passage inculcated upon his readers.
I. THE NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS.
1. The uncertainty of the future. No one can reckon upon events succeeding one another with even regularity, and therefore no one can make provision for time to come, and abandon himself to security and ease, assured that all things will continue as from the beginning. In our Lord's discourses we find frequent warnings of changes and catastrophes, accompanied by exhortations to vigilance.
2. The certainty that every man will be called upon, and that before very long, to appear before the Divine Judge, to give an account of the deeds done in the body. How important that that day should not come upon us unawares and find us unprepared!
3. The temptations to unfaithfulness and indolence which beset us from without. Whether Christians are vigilant or not, they may be sure the adversary of souls is upon the alert, and ready to take advantage of every opportunity of attacking us by force or seducing us by craft.
4. The frailty of our own nature is prone to concur with the enemy's activity in exposing us to spiritual danger. We have not only to watch against Satan, we have to watch against self.
II. THE METHODS AND SCOPE OF CHRISTIAN WATCHFULNESS. As the avenues by which danger approaches are many, it is necessary to set a guard against every one of them. More especially is it important:
1. To watch the thoughts. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and sins; accordingly the precept of inspiration is most appropriate, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
2. To watch the lips. We are reminded by St. James that the tongue is a little member, but that it may be set on fire of hell. How much misery is caused by unbridled speech! - misery to the speaker himself, who regrets words spoken in sinful anger or passion of some other kind; misery to others, whose character may be blasted, whose usefulness may be crippled.
3. To watch the actions. It has been said that four-fifths of life consists of conduct. Certain it is that, unless the actions be watched, unless deeds of justice and mercy occupy the energies, all professions of religion are worthless. No man ought to be so confident of the stability and purity of his character as to deem himself exempt from the necessity of observing his conduct and consciously regulating it by the counsels of inspired wisdom.
III. THE MOTIVE TO WATCHFULNESS. The motive which will weigh most with the Christian will be the wish and authoritative command of his Lord. How deep an impression his frequent admonitions to spiritual vigilance produced upon his Church is apparent from the truly Christian names which were so frequently given or assumed by Christians; they took a pleasure in being called by such names as Gregory and Vigilantius, meaning "the Watcher." The Lord has said, "I say unto all, Watch!" "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!" - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: