If your house was not in a suburban part of north shore Massachusetts (or wherever you might be reading this from), but was actually a hut in the middle of the Serengeti that is frequented by lions, how would that effect your daily life?
If you knew that you lived in the middle of the grasslands that were regularly visited by a prowling lion, how would your daily life be different? What precautions would you take? What kinds of things would be a regular part of your routine? What would go through your mind? What would you do before stepping out the front door each day?
You would probably live in a defensive posture. You would watch carefully paying attention to signs that a predator is near. You would keep an eye on your children and grandchildren and anyone else nearby. You would be sure to clean up any food waste and not make it a habit to leaving behind items with a strong smell. You might carry some protection in order to defend yourself in case of attack. You might even get some special training in self-defense, in animal tracking, and for the worst case scenario emergency medial treatment.
You would certainly not walk around blindly or with your guard down. You would need vigilance not laziness. You would want to be always ready for the worst. You would be thankful for every time you made it home safely.
Our lives as Christians are like this. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.” (I Peter 5:8) Vigilance, a defensive stance against the evils of this world, thankfulness for safety, and a clear concern for all neighbors is a must! Do not let your guard down. Do not get lazy. Expect the worst, and be thankful for every day that you return home safely.
Luther’s evening prayer echoes this kind of daily vigilance:
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray You to forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.