1 Peter – 1 Peter 5:8-11 – 17 of 18
In his first epistle, Peter tells us not to be surprised by our trials. It’s interesting that he doesn’t take the time to commiserate with his readers, nor does he offer advice on how to avoid suffering and pain. Instead, he reminds us that trials are part of living in a fallen world, and if you are a Christian, you can expect pushback and opposition from our culture. However, Peter also reassures us that God provides rich benefits for those who patiently endure suffering in the world.
The truth is that without some opposition in life there would be little spiritual growth at all. Character traits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control often grow out of adversity. When suffering plagues us, our tendency is to think that God has abandoned us, but Peter reassures us that there is every reason to believe that God is there, sovereignly working in and through our suffering to make us more like His Son. Our problem is that we don’t understand the role that God has appointed pain and trials to play in our lives.
According to the Scriptures, the culprit for much of the world’s pain and suffering comes from Satan, our primary adversary. God calls us to press close to Him, to trust Him and to respond in an honorable way during times of trial. On the other hand, Satan will try to use our struggles to pry us away from God. And we tend to respond to trial in one of two ways: by turning to God or turning from Him.
In our passage today, Peter opens our spiritual eyes to the spiritual battle that rages around us and in the process provides some advice on how to keep Satan from gaining victory in our lives. As he draws his letter to a close, he turns our attention from a call to humility to a call to resistance, from a call to cast our anxieties upon God, to a call to take up arms against our adversary the devil.
Peter offers insight to help us identify our adversary, and advice on how to fortify ourselves against him.
I. Recognize Satan’s Existence and Activity Satan exists and is working in the world to oppose God and His people. He is a formidable yet subtle enemy whose strategy is to counterfeit whatever God does. He would thoroughly deceive us were it not for the Word and Spirit of God. His goal is to devour us: our marriages, children, families, churches, joy and Christian testimony. In Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds, (Mark 4:13-20) we see following responses to the Word of God as illustrations of Satan’s tactics of diversion in the human heart:
- Immediate rejection
- Reception followed by rejection in the face of trials
- Reception followed by rejection in the face of temptation
II. Resist him by using the Word of God Satan is to be respected but not feared because his power is limited. Resistance implies an active, determined opposition which Jesus demonstrated when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) We resist Satan by answering his attacks with the truths of God’s Word.
III. Remember that you are not alone in this fight—believers, throughout time, have taken a stand for Christ in resisting our adversary, and will continue to do so.
IV. Know that there is an end to this struggle—Jesus will return to make all things right.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Recognize Satan’s existence and activity; resist him.
- Remember that you are not alone in this fight— and that there will be an end to this struggle!
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)