“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”1 Pet.5:8-9 NKJV
This scripture was shared in a chat group and just struck me so boldly this morning. Reading it and thinking about it brought such a wealth of knowledge to me and I thought to share, especially because the lessons I am learning from this passage are of general application for those of us who call ourselves Christians.
I don’t know much about soccer, but I understand the game well enough to use it as an analogy in this piece. In my understanding of soccer, the main objective is to score a goal. Each side is on that field mainly to score goals. And the expectation is that they will put in all effort and strategy to ensure, not only that they score goals, but that they prevent the opposing side from scoring any, while keeping within the rules of the game.
It is an established fact in Christianity that the enemy of our faith is the devil. He is on the opposing side. Christians are on the other side. The field is life. Each side is in the game for a purpose. Our purpose is to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, the devil’s purpose is to prevent us and to destroy us. The rules of the game are as stated in the word of God, the Bible. The whistle was blown many years ago, when God put Adam in Eden.
All of our lives, we will be in this match. We cannot get tired of it. For some, it is an issue for discussion, whether or not we have an enemy. The Bible clearly states here that we have one, the devil. The earlier we come to that reality, the better for us. Because whether we accept it or not, the adversary exists and is raging. If we don’t move against him quickly, we will lose ground.
Back to soccer, the game is on. Each side wants to score. The defense is always defending, preventing a goal. The strikers are always striking, trying to score. Every good striker will kick the ball at every opportunity, whether or not it is likely to turn to a goal. No player stays on the sidelines, or sits on the field, watching the match. All players make sure they are actively involved and playing the match, actively contributing to the scoring of a goal, making sure the ball gets to their team striker. Anyone sitting on the field will be kicked and injured, because they will become an obstruction. Anyone on the sidelines will lose out completely, as they have very little chance of scoring a goal.
Back to the Bible, the rule we are considering here says that we should be sober and vigilant because the devil is looking for who to destroy and you don’t want it to be you, so resist him and remain steadfast in faith, as everyone is going through this same thing.
What does this tell us?
- The devil’s intention and purpose is to destroy and devour
- He is unrelenting (walking up and down), prancing and prowling, looking for loopholes, weaknesses and any opportunity to pounce.
- He is focused, hungry and angry.
What are we to do?
- Be sober and be vigilant:
This means clear your eye! Stay alert. Don’t be groggy, distracted or passive. Be at attention. Don’t let down your guard. Be on the lookout. Watch out.
- Resist him:
This is an action word. It means actively pushing back. It means there will be attempts to attack or encroach on your territory. If you’re not alert, you might not notice. Push back. Resist. Withstand the action. Hold out against it. Counter it. Repel it. Outlast it. Defy it. Take a stand against it. Set your face against it. Kick against it. This is not warfare yet, but it is defensive tactics. Actively guarding your space. James 4: 7 also says “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” NKJV.
- Be steadfast in faith:
This means to be unwavering, unrelenting, resolute, committed and true. This is where you refuse to shake, no half and half, no doubting, no dilly dallying, no uncertainty. This is where you are sure and sure-footed. Your eyes are focused on God, you believe. This is where you encourage yourself in the faith and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness.
- Know that you’re not alone in this:
All other Christians in the world are going through this same experience. Don’t think you are the only one. Rest assured that God is with you. The devil didn’t single you out for this attack. Don’t be deceived. The devil will have you believe that you are the only one being attacked and it is because God loves everyone else and He is protecting them from attack. It is only you He does not love or it is only you He has left our right now. God abandoned you because of that sin, because of that disobedience, because of that wrongdoing etc.
We must remember the devil is a liar and father of lies. The devil’s lies are designed to make us weak, uncertain, unsure and to make us lose hope and trust in God. The lies are to make us doubt. And in that weakened and vulnerable state, we become easy prey.
God has prepared us for those lies and provided a way of escape, by revealing the devil’s modus operandi to us ahead of time. You are not alone in this!
When predators attack a heard of prey, they usually target the young, the weak, the slow and those who pose the least resistance. We must train ourselves to be strong, solid, actively resisting and alert. You don’t want the devil to score a goal against you.
The strategies to win have been given to us:
- Be sober, be vigilant, resist the devil and be steadfast in faith. Don’t be deceived.
What more do we need?
We need the power. The power to execute the strategies can only be found in God. How do we get the power? By spending time with Him, downloading everything that we need. He daily loads us with benefits (Psalm 68:19).
To resist the devil, we have to be dogged in our determination to seek God continually. Every day, we must seek Him out, spend time with Him. That is where we receive the strength and the capacity required for the day. Like Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 NLT “Today’s trouble is enough for today”, meaning that every day has its troubles. Can we dare to face a day in our own strength?
We don’t need strength to live our whole lives victoriously, we just need enough for one day. One day at a time. As we spend time with God, we take in fresh air into our spiritual lungs, enough for one day, to take us through the day. It is like manna. Feeding us and energizing us, providing resources, insight and grace for one day at a time. This is what we need.
“My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 2 NKJV