1 Peter 5:8-9a 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
Oh, how I HATE the devil. Let me tell you the reasons why: he devours, he preys on innocent people, he tries to discourage God’s people, he lies about God, he tells Christians that God is out to get them, he messes with marriages, and the list goes on and on. He wishes he could ruin my life. Problem (for him): my life is no longer my own but it belongs to Christ! And he can’t mess with Christ because he is a loser – he lost to Christ. So nani-nani-boo-boo. My life is secure in Christ Jesus and in Him, I have victory over this prowling, devouring lion. I don’t have to put up with his garbage. And yet, many of us do. The truth is, we don’t have to.
But maybe our problem is that we don’t know how to deal with the enemy. Maybe we don’t know the right formula or the right prayer to say. Maybe we haven’t used the right words or our “King James” is a bit rusty. Maybe I was supposed to say “thou shalt depart from me and return to whence you came,” but I always get words of the spell mixed up. Uh, oh – that’s a problem. The power of God and the authority in Christ doesn’t require a spell; it requires, well… authority. You already have that if your life is in Christ.
Here in 1 Peter 5, there are simply four things we are instructed to do when the lion comes a-prowlin’. The first is to be self-controlled. I tried that once but I didn’t have the self-control to follow it through! Seriously though, self-control! We need to be exercising it if we are going to be be good lion tamers. The second thing is to be alert. In other words, pay attention! Don’t allow yourself to get fooled, or tricked, or trapped. Pay attention. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize the schemes of the enemy.
The third instruction is to resist. Try this: take two strong magnets and hold them so that direction of the magnetism is the same. Do you know what I am talking about, how they repel each other? There’s a major resistance there and that is the resistance we need to have toward the enemy. Keep him at arms length (or even farther preferably). The final instruction is to stand firm. This is the part where you recognize the situation and you recognize your authority in Christ. So stand on it. Don’t back down. Don’t give in. Don’t get eaten by a lion today. Please.