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Be Aware of Your Surroundings


I used to be a martial arts instructor. When I first started getting involved in Martial Arts it was all about boxing, kickboxing and stand up fighting in general. As I got older and more aware of statistics that reflected the violence in our society, my interest in practical self-defense increased. I wanted to know what to do in any possible realistic scenario. Today, the concept of being aware of our surroundings expanded a little more for me.

         There are many things we can do to protect ourselves without ever having to throw a kick or a punch. You probably have heard police officers; martial arts instructors and others speak about the importance of being aware of our surroundings. This is probably the number one and more effective self-defense technique of all.

         As a society, we have become more distracted and more focus on ourselves. It is common to see somebody on a red light checking their phones, go online, check social media, texting and so on. Some times we get so into whatever we are doing with our phones, that unless somebody blows the horn we do not even realize the stoplight is now green.

         That kind of distraction does not only make us vulnerable to surprise attacks, but also placed us in a situation where we are unaware of what is going on around us. We can’t see that four-year-old walking by himself on the side of the road because we are too busy checking how many likes we got on our latest Instagram photo, our latest Facebook post or Twitter. So we can’t see the woman who is obviously in distress in need of a God bless you, a smile or somebody who genuinely show that they care. In our own homes we can’t see the kitchen that needs to be clean, we can’t see the husbands and wives struggling with some issues; we can’t see that our children are standing in need of attention and correction; that the living room needs to be organize, that the trash in the bathroom needs to be pick up and the list goes on and on.

         We have become a bunch of distracted and selfish people who can careless about what is going on in our surroundings. Our lives are focus on me, myself and I. Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV) The word carry is the Greek word bastázō; meaning, “To take up and hold, to bear.[1] To carry each other’s burden is more than a once a year good deed; we are called to carry that burden and hold it until that person is ready to carry that burden herself.

         Romans 15:1 tells us, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (NIV) The word please here is the Greek word arésō, meaning “To fit, to adapt, to make one inclined to and to be content with.”[2] In other words, when our focus is on pleasing ourselves we arraigned our schedule around what is a good fit for us, what is adaptable to our routine and what makes us happy. That is the illustration of selfishness. Selfishness and Christianity do not go together.

         You want to know the key to prosperity? Proverbs 11:25 tells us, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (NIV) We have got to get into the habit of walking around, not as spoil selfish children, but as walking blessings. Hebrews 13:16 tells us, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NIV) This is the kind of lifestyle that blesses the Lord; when we sacrifice for others.

         The heart of the law is love; love God, love others and love yourself. Love is charity… love is doing good. We, as Christians are called to love everybody; even our enemies. Luke 6:27 tells us, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (NIV) Notice that on the first part of this verse Jesus tells us to love our enemies; on the second part he tells is how, “…do good to those who hate you.”

         The reason many of us are not walking or even attempting to walk this essential mandate of Christianity, is because we are not aware of our surroundings. By focusing exclusively on ourselves we violate Christ law; sadly our burdens become heavier as the result of such selfishness. Galatians 6:8 has some harsh words to say about such selfishness, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (NIV) There is nothing more selfish than our flesh.

         So be aware of your surroundings, not only to protect yourself from surprise attacks, but to protect others and to surprise them with a blessing of love, a blessing of hope and the greatest example of all, if need be, to give your own life for the good of a stranger.




[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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