The Vital Necessity of Spiritual Alertness in the Last Days
Updated: May 5, 2021
Luke 21:34-36 But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man
As in Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13, Luke 21:5-37 records the Lord’s well-known discourse regarding the end times. In all three Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke), as the Lord nears the end of His message to the disciples, He warns them to stay alert. The end times will be so wicked that it will be very easy to get caught up in the pleasures and attractions (or more accurately, distractions) of the age in all of their different forms. Even legitimate concerns, i.e.,. the “cares of this life,” will become so burdensome that the Day of Reckoning will come upon people unexpectedly, and they will be caught off guard.
Consider first, a heart weighed down with “carousing, and drunkenness.” Both of these terms describe a head so dizzy and intoxicated that the brain is not able to function properly because of unbridled indulgence. It does not necessarily have to refer to drinking alone. Anything can become the object of unbridled dissipation whether “sinful” or not: eating, drugs, illicit sexual activity, pornography, gambling, games, (games, and more games), entertainment, materialism, social media, the pursuit of wealth, acquisition of power and prestige, and climbing the social ladder, just to name a few.
However, secondly, the heart (one’s mind, affections, orientation and focus) can also be weighed down with everyday life responsibilities—health, finances, job security, raising children, caring for parents, relationships at work, maintenance of one’s home and vehicles, social and civic activities, and self-improvement. The demands of modern life can swallow us up if we are not watchful. Our hearts can then be turned away from the Lord so that our relationship with Him is not our number one priority.
The philosopher and devout Christian Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) faced the same kind of problems among the people of his day. He observed that they were far more interested in pursuing life’s pleasures and diversions than in reckoning with the condition and destiny of their own soul. Pascal says there are two ways people avoid thinking about such matters: diversion and indifference. Regarding diversion, he says we fill up our time with relatively useless activities simply to avoid facing the truth of our wretchedness. "The natural misfortune of our mortality and weakness is so miserable," he says, "that nothing can console us when we really think about it. . . . The only good thing for man, therefore, is to be diverted so that he will stop thinking about his circumstances." Business, gambling, and entertainment are examples of things which keep us busy in this way. According to Pascal, this is the attitude of the unsaved man: "Just as I do not know where I came from, so I do not know where I am going. All I know is that when I leave this world I shall fall forever into oblivion, or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing which of the two will be my lot for eternity. Such is my state of mind, full of weakness and uncertainty. The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that I must pass my days without a thought of trying to find out what is going to happen to me." (http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/pascal.html).
The antidote is to make sure the Lord is AT THE CENTER of our life, always!!! That is why Jesus says to “watch and pray.” The word “watch” means “to be vigilant, especially of threatening peril,” and the word “to pray” is not simply a passive, quiet exercise. It means to plead earnestly, even to beg to be delivered from these eternally lethal snares so that we might be able to stand before Jesus in heaven! God’s people must be shaken out of their spiritual stupor and slumber so that they are ready when He returns.