“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.”
~1 Peter 5:8 (NRSV).
Such rich imagery is cast before the mind’s eye. The reason to discipline ourselves and stay alert is given. Every Christian person knows the threat of Satan—the agency to threefold-manifest sin... the predilection of our persons to the fleshly desires, the coveting of the world and, finally, the satanic influence and direct attack.
Satan prowls with menacing tact. Warfare in the spiritual realm is never relenting* and constant vigilance is worthy any serious servant of the Lord. (*It might only seem that the devil leaves us alone. Constant is the barrage.)
What on earth can we do?
Earlier versions exhort sober judgment in place of disciplining one’s self. The sober person is awake and refreshed for any battle. They do not pre-occupy themselves with useless thought of fear regarding the presence of the lion of lies; rather they’re adept at facing off with effect.
With sobriety—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually—a person is positioned to stay the attack of a cat of prey, seeking its lunch to the downfall of pride.
With sobriety a person can make their decisions in godly humility (1 Peter 5:5) and rely on the only source of real Spiritual strength: the Lord their God.
Maintain Perspective – Contend in Faith
“Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.”
~1 Peter 5:9 (NRSV).
We’re liable to forget the suffering and trials of others in the midst of our own darkness. This is a favoured ploy of Satan: to isolate individuals into a pitying of their situations. God has created the miracle of fellowship for this reason. As we redeem the burdens of others our lives look better and thankfulness becomes us. Then it’s easier to contend in faith.
As whole communities’ gather in their togetherness, strong in their collective faith, mature ones encouraging those less mature, there is recognition of the battle extant, but with purpose beyond it—to go after God for all their lives.
Most of all, as individuals (for we’re certain to be targeted more this way) we must maintain a proper personal perspective by re-aligning it with God and truth.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Martin Luther, Commentary on Peter & Jude (Trans & eds. John Nichols Lenker) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Classics, , 1990), pp. 217-20.