To be watchful and prepared for action.
There are different levels of being alert.
One might be ready and prepared but not actively watchful. Hence a person stands watch while another grabs some rest. To be constantly vigilant and watchful a person would wear out and become dangerous. Is the person sleeping any less prepared? No, but they are not watching, they will spring into action at a moments notice from the person on watch.
A guard dog will be a sleep and apparently not at attention but the slightest sound that is out of place and the head and ears prick up. Full attention by the animal is now activated and it will begin to scan by sight…if the noise was big enough it will also get all the way up and investigate.
Weather alert days prepare us for bad weather and the fact that we may have to adjust our normal patterns because of this. Winter weather driving means that additional drive time may need to be added into our schedule. Alerts for really foul weather like a hurricane warn persons to prepare property for winds and perhaps evacuate lower elevations near the water. Those alerts that tell us we might have tornadoes are letting us know that we should be watchful and keep up on weather information when storms start to build.
In our walk as Christians we must be alert. The scripture tells us in 2 John,
“Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.” 2 John 1:8 NLT
So we might lose what we have strived to achieve…in other words take a few steps back in our walk and we will have to retake those lost steps. Kind of like walking up a slippery slope, you may fall and slide down a bit and then have to get up and climb back up.
Of course this great scripture in 1 Peter speaks about the enemy of our souls,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
So the enemy is prowling around like a lion. Stalking us with head low and ready to pounce at the slightest sign of weakness. Therefore we must stand firm against him,
“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:13 NLT
Isn’t it great to know that we don’t have to protect ourselves from the enemy on our own. God’s armor protects us…but we must be faithful in putting it on, it does no good gathering dust on a table.
Finally, in speaking of His return Christ tells us,
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” Mark 13:32-33
We must therefore be ready and prepared for His return. As I have heard it said, we must be read up (devotions and teachings from the Word), prayed up (daily intimate time with God), and paid up (our spiritual house is in order). If we keep these three areas satisfied in our lives we will be alert for His coming.