“Regular naps prevent old age, especially if taken while driving.”

I tweeted this funny but true statement a few weeks ago and it still makes me smile. That and this week’s photo. They both underscore the importance of this week’s character trait.

Alertness.

Being aware of what is taking place around me so I can have the right responses. Watchfulness. Vigilantly attentive. Mentally responsive and perceptive. Quick to perceive and act.

While I risk stating the obvious, I can’t act appropriately if I don’t know the situation. And I can’t know the situation unless I’ve been alert enough to pick up on all the clues. Therefore, no snoozing at the wheel.

Alertness is also important for a successful walk of faith. As Jesus said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV) Temptation and deception sneak up on us like thieves in the night, so be alert.

Nehemiah knew all about sneaking enemies, so he closed the gaps in the walls around Jerusalem and posted guards night and day (Nehemiah 4). Jesus was so alert to those around him that even while walking through a crowd, he noticed the woman who touched the hem of his robe (Luke 8:40-48) and the petite tax collector perched in a tree (Luke 19:1-10). Their lives were changed as a result.

If character is revealed by how I respond to situations, alertness is vital. So this week I’m making the effort to wake up and see what’s going on around me.

What about you? Do you pick up on the clues around you? Do you tend to be more alert in some situations and not in others? Why or why not? How would being alert affect your family, job, or neighborhood?

Character Matters – Alertness
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