On the alert

Actively listening for God’s messages protected my family and me, and maybe even helped to curtail an attack.

Speaking with his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, Christ Jesus commanded them three times to “watch” (see Mark 13:33–37). He was insisting on the great need for spiritual alertness—the need not to be put to sleep by subtle influences. Jesus’ insistence on watching is echoed throughout the New Testament, indicating that mental watchfulness is one of the basic requirements of Jesus’ true followers.

What exactly is watchfulness? It’s the opposite of apathy, weariness, sleepiness, indifference, intoxication. To be mentally alert is to stay attuned to God, to listen to the voice of the Christ continually, regardless of where we are and what we are doing. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy describes the Christ as “a divine influence ever present in human
consciousness” (p. xi), and later she refers to “the ‘still, small voice’ of Truth uttering itself” (p. 323). Every individual can hear the voice of Christ, Truth, speaking directly to him or her.

Mrs. Eddy obviously regarded this watchfulness, or alertness to the Christ, as essential. She established a Church By-Law, “Alertness to Duty” (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 42), that instructs each member to practice prayerful self-defense every day.

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