“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)
One day when I was new on the job, I rode with a guy who had about two years on more than me. As we patrolled, my partner suddenly said we had shots fired and asked where we were. I didn’t know where we were! We didn’t really have shots fired. He’d just said that to teach me always to know my location. It was a good lesson. If we’d really had shots, I’d have lost precious time getting us help.
Often on the job, you have advance warning of possible danger and know you should be alert. On a “shots fired” or “male with a gun” call, you expect danger. Likewise, on any traffic stop, you’re already aware—or you should be—that your violator who just blew the stop sign may also be wanted for murder.
Sometimes, though, things can happen out of the blue. Sudden gunfire. A car speeding and weaving. A lady running from a house, bloody and screaming. Many jobs are dangerous due to conditions and the chance of mishaps: like construction, logging, and mining. Yet police work is often dangerous because people make it dangerous on purpose. You need to be ready.
Danger can come without warning. So can temptation. Genesis 4:7 says, “…sin lieth at the door.” Just as a suspect may strike when he sees an opening, Satan does so with temptation. That’s why we need to be sober and vigilant, as our verse says.
As a cop, you’re going to be tempted. You may be enticed to take dishonest money or have a sexual encounter; or use excessive force or fabricate a phony case against a suspect because “he’s a dirtbag.” You can be tempted to call in sick when you just want time off, or loaf and make other cops handle your work, or give citizens a lousy attitude or poor service because “these people are all idiots, anyway.”
Here are ways to be sober and vigilant against temptation. First, trust God’s Word that no temptation is too tough for the Lord to help you resist: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Second, decide in advance to do right, no matter the consequences. In Daniel 3, the Babylonian king told everyone to bow down to his gold statue or be thrown into a furnace. Three young Hebrews refused. They told him, “…we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” (Daniel 3:16) They didn’t have to think about how to answer. They were going to do right, no matter what. If you do right on this job and cross cops who are willing to do wrong, you won’t get thrown into a fiery furnace, but they may cold-shoulder you or gossip about you. Let them. Better to please God than to please them.
Third, don’t hang out with ungodly people, including cops. You don’t have to be on a platoon long to learn what your co-workers are like. Watch how they do the job. Listen to how they talk: “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) Be kind to them as much as you can, but don’t hang out with them and become like them: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Finally, spend time often in God’s Word and serve Him in a Bible-believing church. Bible preaching and being with people who love the Lord will help you immensely–personally and on the job: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:” (Proverbs 13:20) If you want to see in the Bible how to be sure of heaven, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links”, then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822