Be on your guard
Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9 CSB
One of the sports that my father and I watch regularly is boxing. Whenever there’s a match coming up of one of the fighters we follow, we tend to watch the previous matches of his opponent to see what are his tactics, his strengths, and his weaknesses. Of course, we are not the only ones who do that: both boxers actually fighting in the ring are studying their opponents as well, making counter strategies and contingency plans all leading up to the day of fight, when they duke it out in the ring and see if their strategy worked. Understanding who and how your opponent operates is very important in developing a strategy. This is what Peter exhorts the Christian who puts his confidence in God to be in full control of his senses. In two other places in his epistle, he urges the readers to self-control (see 1:13; 4:7). Also, he admonishes the people to be alert, that is, to be fully awake (1 Thessalonians 5:6). The warning is clear and crisp: be sober and alert. Be on your guard! The sentence be self-controlled and alert concentrates on two characteristics: self-control is man’s ability to look at reality with a clear mind, and alertness is a state of watchfulness and readiness. The first characteristic describes a person who controls his own disposition, while the second discloses his readiness to respond to outside influences. A Christian must always be on guard against both internal and external forces that are bent on destroying him. These forces originate in man’s chief adversary, Satan. Peter speaks from experience, for he remembers the words of Jesus on the night of the betrayal: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31–32). That same night Peter denied his Lord when he failed to watch and pray (compare Matt. 26:41). Peter warns believers to pay attention and know that their enemy is the devil, the great deceiver. The devil is waging spiritual warfare against the church, trying his best to disrupt the workers of God here on earth, so that they may not be able to accomplish the Great Commission. The devil is “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone to devour,” awaiting for believers to become lazy and unfocused, which will give him the time to pounce. Therefore, Peter gives us strategies to fight him off: be sober minded (be on guard), resist him (withstand him by relying on the power of Christ, as Christ had resisted the devil, and he fled), and be firm in the faith (drawing strength from your belief). And Peter mentions that last part in this verse as a form of encouragement, meaning that as you are in the battle against the devil, keep fighting as other believers around the world are also fighting him and resisting him. Believers are united as one body through Christ, and therefore, can stand firm against the devil, knowing that Christ has already won.
Isaac De Guzman