1 Peter 5:8-11
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Christian suffering and persecution because of their faith is normal, going by the many encouragements in the book of first Peter. Suffering is to be expected looking at the church history. The time was approaching when Ignatius would anticipate his death in the Roman Collosseum. Listen to what He said:
Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread … come fire and cross and grapplings with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs, crushing of my whole body, come cruel tortures of the devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ.
Three very clear instruction are being given here to Christians:
1. To be sober-minded and watchful (v.8)
2. To resist Him with a firm faith (v.9)
3. God will restore you after you have suffered (10-11)
1. Be sober-minded - watchful
Christians are urged in the word of God to be sober-minded or watchful for as long as they are in this world. The need for watchfulness is very important because of the enemies who are against us. We have a terrible enemy called the devil. The term means ‘slanderer’ or ‘false accuser’ as in 1 Tim 3:11; 2 Tim 3:3; Tit. 2:3 and it is the same word that is applied to Haman when he had false accusations against the Jews in Est. 8:1 and it is translated n ESV as ‘enemy’.
Who is the devil? The devil is a spiritual being who is in active rebellion against God. He also leads many devils like himself who are opposed to God and to his people.
How exactly does he look like? This enemy is like a lion, a ferocious animal that can very easily devour anyone by attacking suddenly, viciously and often when you are not suspecting that that it is lurking around. The greatest reason for sober-mindedness and watchfulness is that the danger of being devoured by this enemy is real. This clearly shows that the devil is not a myth or anything like that. God saying here that the devil is as real as a lion. It is not to be played around with because just like lion it can attack and kill you!
Go through the Bible and particularly in the New Testament and you will find real influences of the devil. The Psalmist often describes his enemies as lions, lying in ambush and waiting to pounce on him. There are bizarre and violently demonic attacks on people that caused them to be so opposed to Christ, His apostles and to the message of the gospel (Mark 1:24; 5:2-5; 9:18; Acts 16-18; Rev. 2:10). This manifests in malicious slander and falsehood in speech (John 8:44; 1 John 4:1-3) and sometimes-stubborn propagation of false teaching (1John 4:1-6) there was a tendency to harm themselves (Mark 5:5; 9:20). Some other times there were sudden and unexplained emotions such, fear hatred, anger, violence etc.
The point is that there is terrible evil in the world we live in and most of it is brought by the devil who is the author of sin. And we are called to approach these onslaughts against us soberly knowing that there are devils efforts behind it. We are to beware of the devil and therefore be watchful in prayer. We are not to yield into sin as a result of the pressure from the devil or his army of demons. We know that our Lord triumphed over the devil and his schemes when He cried the cry of victory on the cross that it is finished. He disarmed the rulers and authorities (demonic) and put them to public shame by triumphing over them (Col. 2:15). We should not fear the devil, because he is defeated. Instead we are to remain sober-minded and watchful. The book of revelation shows that he is defeated now by Christ by His blood and ultimately he will be defeated when he will be thrown in the lake of fire forever. We are therefore to rejoice praising the Lord who has bought us by His blood from the bondage of the enemy.
Sobriety means that we listen to God rather than the devil. Do not listen to the falsehood of the devil. Do not accept everything you hear as the truth but make sure that it is from God. Sobriety means that you are not taken form granted.
2. Resist Him with a firm faith (v.9)