“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NASB).
Never forget that you have an enemy who is out to devour you and other believers!
If the police of your city knocked on your front door and warned you that the home burglary rate in your neighborhood was up 75 percent, would you do anything about it? Would you make sure your doors and windows were secure? Would you install a really good home security system? Would you be more diligent at night to turn on front and rear porch lights?
As Christians, we must remain diligent at all times. Peter discovered this on a first-hand basis when Jesus warned him personally: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
The sad story is that even with the warning, Peter still fell into Satan’s trap that day and denied Jesus three times. Perhaps that was the reason the Holy Spirit prompted Peter himself to warn us to be sober and to stay on the alert, knowing that the devil’s schemes could come at any time.
Stay in the light!
The devil is the ruler of the darkness. Paul said, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
So if the devil controls the influences of spiritual darkness in this world, the best way to avoid his evil influence is to continually walk in the light of Jesus’ presence. Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, “You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
Those who go on safaris in the African wilderness are warned not to leave the light of the campsite after dark. Lions and other wild beasts operate quite well in the darkness and will almost always have an advantage in a nighttime encounter.
In the spiritual realm, since the darkness belongs to the devil and his control until God brings this earth to an end, our best plan of action is to honor God by staying out of the darkness and walking in His holy light. Paul summed up this counsel well when he wrote, “Do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:27).
Surround yourself with God’s family, standing guard together against the enemy!
On wild animal tours in Africa, guides always encourage their guests to stay in their vehicles, even if the jeeps or buses they are using are open on all sides. Why? It is always safer. Lions tend to perceive everything that is in the vehicle as a part of the vehicle, and who wants to eat something that smells like metal, oil, and motor exhaust?
The same is true in a fellowship of believers. It is always easier for the devil and the forces of darkness to mentally or physically attack the person who has wandered away from the fellowship of the church because of personal sin or divisive encounters.
Perhaps this is why, after exhorting Christians to put on their spiritual armor and stand firm against the schemes of the devil, Paul encourages us to pray for one another: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
Because the devil is still on the prowl, may we purpose to pray daily for our Christian friends!
Click here to read Part 2 in this series by James Pool.