8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9
According to Warren Wiersbe, “Satan is a dangerous enemy. He is a serpent who can bite us when we least expect it. He is a destroyer and an accuser. He has great power and intelligence and a host of demons who assist him in his attacks against God’s people.”
The words Peter used to advise those who would receive his letter were critical to them as dispersed Christians, and yet they are as applicable today as they were almost 2,000 years ago. We do not face the same level of persecution as the early church, nor do we experience persecution like many of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world today.
However, we are still targeted by an adversary—and not just any adversary. Satan is OUR adversary. Peter made this subtle (yet oh, so critical) point in his letter by his use of a pronoun instead of an article. He could have easily said “an” adversary or “the” adversary, and while those would have been grammatically correct, they would not be enough. The attacks of Satan are not a result of some freak, supernatural event—they are personal. Satan knows you, he knows me, and he is after us.
To be sober-minded and alert about Satan is to be aware of his power and potential for destruction and to take him seriously. We are not to fear Satan, but as Wiersbe puts it, he must be recognized as “a great pretender.” And anyone who pretends has one motivation: deception. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and he stops at nothing to convince us that what he offers is superior to what Christ can give.
There is no limit to the lengths to which Satan will go to deceive us, but one of the most common ways Christians get derailed from the truth is by seeking peace through the wrong channel—literally and figuratively. We live in one of the most upside-down times many of us have ever experienced. The variables and unknowns can overwhelm even the most well-informed expert, and in a tailspin effort to get a grip on our reality, we zoom right past the very Person who is our peace.
We become so consumed by what we are afraid of that we don’t realize that Satan has us where he wants us: discontented, distracted and dismayed at the world around us. Satan preys on us to disrupt our praise, our prayers, and our petitions to God. It is imperative that we resist his lies, fighting them with the truth of scripture and remembering the ways the Lord has already worked in our lives. Jesus will never leave us, and He will never forsake us.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What areas of your life do you believe are targeted by Satan?
- How can you improve your “alertness” to better protect these areas?
- As difficult as it may be, what are some ways you can encourage a fellow believer who is enduring the same sufferings as you?