“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
The Apostle Paul concludes one of the most amazing Books of the Bible by sharing five stances of the Christian life. These are also “Five Stances Of Christian Martial Arts.”
- Stand fast in the faith
- Be brave
- Be strong
- Let all that you do be done with love
Paul begins his final exhortation to the Corinthians with the Greek word gregoreite. It is the idea of watching through alertness and keeping awake. Paul uses it in his letters for spiritual alertness. The NIV translates the word as “be on your guard.”
Γρηγορεῖτε στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει ἀνδρίζεσθε κραταιοῦσθε
It’s the same word Jesus used the night He was arrested in Gethsemane.
“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” Mark 14:32-34
ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε – “Stay here and watch.” Jesus told the disciples to remain where they were and be alert. It was a very difficult and dangerous time and Jesus wanted Peter, James and John to be on guard physically and spiritually.
Teachers and students of martial arts understand the idea of being alert and “on your guard.” That is the first lesson we learn in self-defense class – be alert, be aware. If we are aware, we don’t have to be afraid. Awareness is what we do instead of being afraid. Women, children, all of us should be alert and on our guard at all times. Why? Because we can be attacked by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Alertness, awareness, being on guard, is what we should do all the time. Why? Because we can be attacked anywhere at anytime by anyone. What is the most important 60 seconds in self defense? The 60 seconds before an attack. Everyone has 60 seconds before they are attacked. Would they have seen the attack coming if they had been on guard? In many cases the answer is “yes.” Awareness can be our best defense against attack because we may “sense” (see, hear, feel) the danger before it gets to us.
I did a dumb thing when I was 18. I was with a group of friends late at night in a city far from my home and someone we didn’t know came up to us and asked for a lift home. I said sure, so we all jumped into my car and I drove the man to where he said he lived. He said his house was down a long driveway to a building that was behind a stand of trees. I had a funny feeling that something wasn’t right about it, so I told the man to get out of the car. He tried to talk me into driving him down the driveway, but I sensed something was wrong and insisted he get out of the car. He got out and walked down the driveway. I pulled back onto the road and drove away. We later heard about a gang of thieves that was using that same tactic to get people to drive into a remote area where they would attack them and steal anything of value. I can’t say for sure that the man we drove “home” was part of that gang, but I responded to what my mind and body were telling me to do.
I was in that “60-second self-defense zone” where we can either listen to our intuition and training or go against what we think and feel. Awareness often leads us to physical safety. If we’re talking or texting on a cell phone, listening to music on headsets or just not paying attention, we can be attacked and defeated easily. If we’re in a “watch” stance (physical on-guard), we will sense the danger and evade the attack.
That is also true spiritually. For every spiritual attack we face there is a “60-second zone” where we can hear God’s warning before the attack begins. If we are in a “watch” stance (spiritual on-guard), we will hear His warning and evade the attack.
“You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”