Focal passage: 1 Peter 5:1-11
I am currently preaching a sermon series on spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6. During my time of preparation, I have become increasingly aware of the reality of our spiritual enemy, his deceptive schemes and his hideous desires of stealing, killing, destroying, and as we see in this passage, devouring.
Satan, our spiritual enemy, does not simply want to give you a bad day, he wants to wreck your life, discourage your spirit, destroy your testimony and undo as much as he can of God’s Kingdom-advancing work until God finally brings all things to a final end.
In today’s passage, we see Peter preparing the church for the times of attack that would certainly come. He gave instruction to the leaders of the church, telling them how they must be ready to lead and care for the body of Christ. Peter wanted not only the spiritual leaders to be prepared but those who would follow their leadership as well. So, he gave some specific instruction to the younger followers, as well as general instructions and warnings to the body as a whole. Their ability to withstand spiritual attack would require them to walk both in personal humility and complete dependence upon God.
Their dependence on God, however, did not leave them without responsibility. They were to “be watchful” for Satan’s attacks and to “resist” when they came. Those are not passive words. They are actions these believers were to take.
Like the soldier that has been trained and equipped, we are to stay alert, watching our surroundings for signs of enemy movement, ambush and attack. Our enemy doesn’t bring a full-on frontal attack all the time. He is watching patiently for us to become distracted, tired, discouraged, frustrated and so on.
Then, like that lion on the African plain, he will spring from his hiding place and attack. The good news, though, is this: God has not left us to ourselves. He is with us. His Spirit lives within us. He will enable us not only to be alert, but to stand firm when Satan attacks.