vs. Unawareness
Being aware of that which is taking place around me so that I can have the right response to it

Key Verse

“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”
Mark 14:38

The operational definition of alertness is “being aware of that which is taking place around me so that I can have the right response to it.” God tells us to be watchful and to look out for relationships, property, or resources that the enemy may try to kill, steal, or destroy. Alertness involves intentionally observing what is happening around you. For example, an alert person will notice the sadness or excitement of others, will sense the right time to speak, and will recognize potential dangers such as poison ivy, a stray dog, or an approaching storm. When a potential problem has been perceived, alertness becomes effective when we follow up with an appropriate response, such as offering a glass of water, removing a harmful object, or reporting what was seen. Alertness leads to opportunities to express other qualities, such as kindness, hospitality, and initiative.

Standing watch from a tower, a lookout protects the lives of the townspeople by sounding an alarm when danger is sighted.
If unaware of his surroundings, a mouse may fall prey to danger when he ventures outside of his home!

The opposite of alertness is unawareness. A person lacking awareness does not pay attention to his surroundings and to the people around him. His unawareness could be due to being absorbed in an activity or preoccupied with his own needs and desires. Distractions and daydreaming divert his focus and rob him of opportunities. In other situations, a person may notice concerns or signs of potential danger, yet choose to dismiss the warnings with the thought, “It’s fine.” His unresponsiveness may be a result of irresponsibility, selfishness, or laziness. Beware of the consequences of unawareness! The unwary and unresponsive person may suffer loss or unknowingly put himself or others in harm’s way.

Evaluation Questions

  • Do I understand that I am in spiritual warfare and must guard against temptation?
  • Am I studying the Bible so that I can discern between truth and false doctrines?
  • Have I purposed to not listen to gossip, lies, and half-truths?
  • What dangers have I recognized and communicated to others?
  • Must my parents warn me more than once about the same poor choices, activities, or friends?
  • What questions could I ask to help me rightly interpret and evaluate what is taking place around me?
  • Do I scan my surroundings for danger and avoid potentially harmful places and situations?
  • What precautions do I use online when searching and sharing information?

More About Alertness

“I have ever found it, when I have thought the battle was over and the conquest gained, and so let down my watch, the enemy had risen up and done me the greatest injury.”
David Brainerd
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Alertness with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Know the enemy will attack.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8

Keep watch.

“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” MARK 13:35–37

Beware of lies.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” I John 4:1

Sharpen my spiritual senses.

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14

Recognize the tactics of the enemy.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” II Timothy 2:24–26

Choose to do right before I am tempted.

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

Keep my eyes and ears open.

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

Recognize and heed warnings.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Hebrews 2:1

Tell others of danger.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28

Stay away from unsafe places.

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 27:12

Alertness in Scripture

A Young Man Overhears a Deadly Plot

“And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.”
Acts 23:16
The Apostle Paul had determined to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Day of Pentecost. Upon his arrival, he reported to the church, who rejoiced in the spread of the Gospel. However, not everyone appreciated Paul’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ for both Jews and Gentiles. Some Jews in the Temple recognized Paul and wrongly assumed he was violating a Jewish custom and tried to kill him! Roman soldiers rushed to the scene and took Paul into custody. As he was being led into the Roman fortress, Paul asked to speak to the angry mob. Everyone listened attentively—until he mentioned God’s call to the Gentiles. Upon hearing that, the crowd erupted in anger, casting off their cloaks and throwing dust into the air. Guards ushered Paul inside. The next day, the Roman captain held a hearing before the Jewish council to understand Paul’s offense. However, the Jewish council became upset, and once again the soldiers had to rescue Paul and secure him within the fortress. That night, what would God say to Paul? Would the angry Jews relent now that Paul was in Roman custody? What would they do the next day? What vital message would God send through a young person who was keeping his eyes and ears open?

Revealed in Nature

Ring-necked Pheasant

The ring-necked pheasant survives by fleeing the attacks of predators. It can easily detect approaching danger through its keen senses of sight and hearing. It normally flies at around 30 mph, but when pursued it will fly up to 60 mph!

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are motivated to observe their surroundings to recognize and heed physical and spiritual warnings.

View the Alertness booklet sample:

Get the complete Alertness booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Alertness

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Set a strong guard about thy outward senses: these are Satan’s landing places, especially the eye and the ear.”
William Gurnall