by Mike Ratliff
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NASB)
I have written several posts about heresy and apostasy. However, I have always been puzzled by those believers who were once very effective in ministry or serving our Lord with Christ focused walks, but then something changed. Those men and women once very effective in ministry seemed to stumble badly or they who once stood firm now seemed be willing to compromise in areas of doctrine or they once stood against invasion of the world into “church,” but now seem to be all for it in one way or another. What happened? I know that many of us are willing to throw out the “apostate” label in these cases, but is that what really happened?
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8 (NASB)
We are commanded to walk humbly before our Lord and all men. We are never to exalt ourselves or our ministries as if they are something we have done. No, if we are successful in ministry I assure you it is because we have humbled ourselves before our God and He is using us for His glory. However, even in this we will suffer. That is what our Lord Jesus said. That is part of serving our Lord. If we stand firm as He commanded the world will hate us as it hated Him.
We are to be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Why? Our adversary, the devil, who is Satan, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. He is not interested in devouring those who are compromising. He is not after those who are not serving. No, he is after those who are humble and serving the Lord, being used by Him in ways that can only be explained by the fact that God is doing it.
What does it mean that the devil is a roaring lion. When a lion roars it is a sign that he is either in control of an area or is seeking to be. His roar is loud and shatters the nerves of those who hear it. That is why lions roar. But, what does it mean that he devours someone? I used to think it meant that he destroyed them in some way. However, I have learned that what this means is that the devil desires to consume a believer who is being used by God by distracting them, getting them to focus on him and what he has to offer rather than on God and what they should be focused on. When this happens and they do not repent they end up on a slippery slope in which their testimony is destroyed, their ministry is compromised and they find themselves part of Satan’s system rather than God’s.
Now, I know that most if not all of you know of someone who fits this description. I know several and it is very sad.
What are we to do?
9 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. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:9-11 (NASB)
Our strength to resist our enemy comes through the grace of God who will Himself perfect, conform, strengthen and establish us. My brethren. Stay humble and alert. Stay on track. Stand firm in the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!