“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
“Vigilant” carries the idea of to watch, stay awake. Here it means to keep spiritually alert (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 10).
Secular Greek used this term to describe people carefully crossing a river while stepping on slippery stones. If they did not pay strict attention to their steps, they would end up in the water. So the idea of vigilance is to stay alert and cautious (Mark 13:37; 14:34-40). The Christian who does not give strict attention to Satanic attack is in for trouble.
“Vigilant” was used as a military term–stand guard, be vigilant in a military situation. Like a Green Beret on patrol, the Christian should watch out for a guerrilla attack from the Devil. There are no front lines in his strategy to defeat us. The enemy could come from anywhere. Spiritually, this means to orient to the plan of God (Matthew 24:42; 25:13; 26:41; Revelation 3:2; 16:15).
To win spiritual battles, we must stand guard against our enemy, the Devil.
We tend to drop our guard occasionally in our spiritual lives. Good soldiers stand at their post, scanning the horizon for any sign of the enemy.
Christians do not live in an era of peace. They are at war. Too many of us think that we live at peace with our enemy, the Devil himself. He engages us in war whether we want to fight or not. We need to engage the enemy in spiritual warfare. We should understand the spiritual mine fields the Devil lays for us.
The Christian is in a power struggle with the enemy. Usually the army with the greatest power wins. The Gulf war was an overwhelming and decisive mounting of force against Iraq. The Christians have at their command an overwhelming source of power. Fleshly, human power will not do in this war. The rules of engagement for this war are found in chapter 6 of Ephesians.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).