Alert but not alarmed – Hope 103.2

Alert but not alarmed

By David ReayMonday 20 Oct 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Mark 13:5-7

5 Then Jesus began to say to them,”Beware that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name and say,’I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars,do not be alarmed; this must take place,but the end is still to come. (NRSV)

Our civil authorities have occasionally warned us about possible terrorist threats. One of their catchphrases is “be alert but not alarmed”. The idea is that we are to be on our guard,but not to let the threat paralyse us out of fear. The threat might be real but it is not necessarily going to come true.

Jesus seems to adopt a similar approach when it comes to thinking about the end of the world and the inauguration of his rule over the new heavens and new earth. He warns against precise predictions; he warns against gullibility in believing all that is said.

Perhaps such warnings can have a wider application. Some want to stir up fear and even anger among God’s people. We are under attack,others are out to get us. Whether it be by armed violence or government decree,by doubtful teaching or ill-informed media,we are victims of various plots and conspiracies.

And there is some truth in this: Christians are under attack. This ought not to surprise us: Jesus himself predicted it. But beware of living in a state of constant alarm,seeing enemies everywhere,sniffing out conspiracies. This leads to paranoia and defensiveness. We need to be alert to the machinations of our great enemy. But because Jesus is Lord we need never succumb to alarm.

David Reay