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November 24 – Spiritual watchfulness

“So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:6 

Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10

Paul has taught the Thessalonians that they and all other Christians are sons of light and not of darkness. They belong to the day, not to the night and therefore Paul exhorts them not to sleep, but to remain watchful and sober. To sleep, in this context means to live as if there will be no tomorrow or never be a day of judgment. Paul is warning against spiritual and moral lethargy. To be watchful is to live a sanctified life, conscious of the coming Judgment Day. The watchful individual has his lamp burning and his loins girded and in that spirit, he looks forward to the return of the Bridegroom. Christians need to be awake and sober.

Paul contrasts the soberness of the Christian with the drunkenness of the worldling. The world stumbles around in drunkenness and darkness, but the Christian walks soberly and expectantly in the light.

But for the Christian, watchfulness does not mean simply being passive while waiting. That was Paul’s point to the Thessalonians. They had become passive in their waiting and watching and now Paul stirs them up to intense activity. Paul tells them that their calling as children of the light is to carry the light into the world. They were to fight the good fight of faith and conquer the darkness with the light of the gospel.

The question Paul presses upon us today is this: to which kingdom do you belong, light or darkness? Are you still asleep or awake? Has the light of Jesus Christ shone upon you?

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith so that the light of Christ may shine ever more bright in you.

Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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