It is most likely that the most people focus on Christmas when thinking about December. Instead, I would like to focus on a day that can be so easily overlooked during the holiday season.
It’s hard to imagine that on this day some 79 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Empire of Japan. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed that December 07, 1941 would be “A date that will live in infamy.”
This horrendous attack led the United States to enter World War II. So many Americans & Japanese died on this day, & many more would die during the war. Such a tragedy all around. The surprise attack had dire consequences. Well...we can gain a spiritual lesson through this day in history.
Paul wrote a letter to a church in Colossae. There is a somewhat familiar passage in chapter 4:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being WATCHFUL and thankful. -Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
It’s a short and simple passage to memorize. But what does it mean to be “WATCHFUL?” This word is used to communicate being aware of the danger around you. As you pray to God, you are able to become aware of things that would’ve otherwise caught you off guard.
It’s amazing how quickly our sin can intensify. For example, that small white lie suddenly turns into many big lies. The infrequent angry thoughts become more common, & eventually turn into violent action. The “harmless” gossip creates toxic relationships. The need to control the small things in our lives develops into a strong desire for control in everything. You get the idea. I will stop there so you don’t get too discouraged.
We are pretty good at justifying our sin in our minds. It’s important to remember how our sin can be like a snowball rolling downhill. Sure we start with a tiny snowball of sin, but then we let it loose. As it tumbles down the mountain, it gains mass and size. Before we know it, we have lost control and it has destructive effects.
Going back to the Pearl Harbor attack. There are documents that are now declassified that reveal the fact that some military leaders were aware of a possible threat from the Empire of Japan. To apply the Bible passage...They were WELL-INFORMED, but they weren’t WATCHFUL, and the effects were devastating. In the same way, it is important to be WELL-INFORMED. We must read and know what our Bible says. But we can’t stop there. We must also be WATCHFUL. This means not just knowing God’s Word. It also means applying it to our lives.
So as 2020, comes to a close, let us be followers of Christ that understand that there is a spiritual battle going on. Let us not be caught off guard. Rather let us be WATCHFUL as we pray to God for clarity and direction for 2021.