1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Click here to read more.
Be Steadfast (1 Peter 5:8-11)
Christians need to have a balanced biblical understanding of the devil and how he operates. One cannot defeat the enemy whose operations they don’t understand. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis rightly puts it that, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Satan is real and so is his work to oppose the purposes of God.
The devil is depicted in this passage as a “roaring lion” searching for a prey (verse 8). Lions usually prey on weak or lonely animals. People are the devil’s targets as long as they are doing the will of God. The devil’s intentions are to discourage, disrupt or distract one from doing the will of God. When we are anxious about things beyond our control, or become overly taken up by worldly pursuits, we can easily become the enemy’s soft targets.
Believers are to resist the devil “by standing firm in the faith” (verse 9). You can’t just shoo him out of your way. This means we need to exercise grace–driven, Holy Spirit–empowered spiritual disciplines. The good news is that the devil is a defeated foe. He was decisively defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.
Testifying to the True Grace (1 Peter 5: 12-14)
In the face of temptation, it is easy to feel lonely and discouraged. It is, therefore, very important to always remember that we are not alone in the battle. There are many other faithful followers of Jesus Christ who are going through similar challenges. Their faith should motivate us not to give up. Believers also need to know that the sufferings they endure for the sake of Christ are momentary. God will deliver the believers from their suffering, whether in this life or through death.
Your faith and steadfastness in the face of suffering can be a great encouragement to brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. But it not only the faith of individual Christians but the church as a corporate body as well. The expression, “She who is in Babylon” (verse 13) is a code name for the church in Rome. Peter does not refer to it in explicit terms because of the persecution that is taking place. The testimony of the suffering church around the world reveals the power of the Gospel to withstand any challenges and opposition. May the faith of the believers in areas where persecution is rife motivate you to stand firm whenever you suffer for the sake of Christ.