Be on guard
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9
The source of the suffering and stress to which God allows us to be subjected is our “enemy the devil” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan has been our enemy since the Garden of Eden. He is the enemy of God and the enemy of man. He seeks to destroy us as he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We are his prey. When he wins in our lives, it satisfies him as a meal of prey satisfies a greedy lion. We confront Satan each day in our temptation to sin. We confront him in our setbacks and suffering. He wins, not when we are tempted and suffer, but when we lose faith in God in the midst of our temptation and suffering. He wins when we submit to him instead of to God. He camouflaged and uses our laziness to defeat us. He hears the arguments we have in the car after church is over. Our preoccupation with things that cause us to worry that we harbor in our hearts could become tools that he will use to discourage us. True, we are to trust God in these circumstances because of His strength and His love. But, in addition, we are to use our God-given strengths to prevail in the confrontations that we face in His name. Peter suggests that we be “self-controlled” and that we take these confrontations very seriously. We should be alert and not to be overconfident in the midst of our confrontations with Satan. We can never let down our guard and assume that Satan has left us for a while. Peter exhorts us to “resist him” in the confrontation (1 Peter 5:9). In doing this, we exercise our choice, our free will to say “no” to Satan and “yes” to God. John writes (1 John 4:4) that we can “overcome” the enemies because “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We can resist because we yield to the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Peter says we resist Satan by remaining “strong in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9), continuing to believe in a God who loves and a Christ who died for us in the midst of life’s stress. Peter reminded us that our “brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” We are not alone. Our fellow Christians all suffer with us. It is always encouraging if we know others are struggling and winning the victory. Do not allow Satan to snatch away the very truth we need the most. Remember to prepare your heart and mind when the day of worship comes. Before you arrive at the worship service, gird yourself with “God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 5:11).
Noel De Guzman