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)
Pastor John’s Notes:
Peter here reminds us that we have an enemy who is always at work. The devil is a fallen angel intent on destroying everyone God loves. Peter’s allusion to the devil as a lion is significant. A lion is a fierce predator, capable of quickly killing his prey. Like a lion, our enemy is not easily overcome. When a lion is nearby, it is a matter of concern for the entire village. Everyone drops what they are doing and works together to drive away the threat. So also, our contention against our spiritual enemy is a matter for the entire church. We must work together in concert against the enemy who would destroy us.
The allusion to the devil as a lion also reveals his tactics. Lions prowl in stealth and are not easy to see. When they attack, they seek to cut individuals away from the flock and prey upon the weak. Leaders in the church must be continually wary of the enemy’s presence and tactics. Peter is warning us to keep watch. As lions will retreat when they realize they have been seen and can be resisted, so it is with our enemy.
How can we resist him? Not under our own power, for the devil knows human beings better than we know ourselves. He has been working for the fall of humanity since the very beginning. Instead, it is through the authority of Jesus Christ that the devil can be defeated. When we use the name of Jesus, we are claiming to be acting as agents of his authority. At the name of Jesus, the devil must obey.
Lord, make us wary of the enemy’s tactics. When we perceive his activity, give us boldness to resist. Teach us not to rely upon our own wisdom or strength but in the authority of your name.