I accidentally made a wondrous discovery a few years ago. I forgot about the coffee pot and left it on all day. I didn’t have a coffee maker with an auto shut-off back then, so when I finally noticed it, the entire pot of coffee had been reduced to a layer of coffee-tar. It was kind of fascinating—black and chewy-looking. I sniffed it, just out of curiosity, and I think it gave me a little bit of a caffeine buzz.
That’s when it hit me that this might be one of the best discoveries ever. What if I peeled that black plastic-looking stuff off the bottom of the pot and cut it into strips? Voila! Coffee jerky! So instead of sloshing scalding coffee in their laps and all over their nice leather seats on a road trip, a traveler could just pop out a hunk of coffee jerky. I’m thinking it would be a great way to make a pot of coffee last all day, too. Just. Keep. Chewing. This discovery might help to keep our entire society more alert!
Alertness is such a great thing. First Peter 5:8 instructs us to “Be self-controlled and alert,” and then tells us why. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). Creepy, isn’t it? It would terrify us if we didn’t have the rest of scripture to tell us that our heavenly Father is infinitely more powerful than the enemy. We even have the next verse in the passage to charge us to, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Plus the powerful, life-revolutionizing instruction in the verse right before. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (vs. 7).
Casting all our anxiety on Christ doesn’t mean we let go of attentiveness and slip into a vegetative state. In java jargon, we can stay perky. The Amplified gives us “self-controlled and alert” from verse eight as “Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times” (AMP).
It’s when we surrender our troubles to Him that life balances out. We are truly freed to be disciplined and to be alert to staying Christ-centered. It’s better than anything caffeinated yet it won’t keep you up at night. As a matter of fact, giving your anxieties over to Jesus and focusing on Him is exactly what you need for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Learning to live alert can revolutionize our walk with Christ. We can find ourselves waking up to new ways to love, serve and honor Him. That’s when we’ll find our lives more grounded than ever before. Fresh-ground alertness. Cup by cup, it’s the holy espresso He can use to change our lives. I love holding onto 1 Corinthians 16:13 in the Amplified version: “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith, your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God…grow in strength!” (AMP).
So even if you don’t enjoy a strong cup of coffee, enjoy a strong faith. Be alert to all things Jesus. Let’s wake up and smell the jerky.