September 12, 2019
Rendering the Enemy Powerless
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
I’m not a fan of lions. Not. At. All. They aren’t picky with their food choices. Whether you’re a gazelle that got separated from your herd or an uninformed human sleeping in a tent where lions roam, they’ll think you look amazing.
I got to experience this terrifying truth firsthand when my family and I decided to go back to the continent where my two sons were born and do mission work.
The guides assured us the lions wouldn’t come.
Right when I was flirting with the edges of sleep, a creature brushed the length of my tent and — wait for it — roared! As he brushed the tent again just inches from my head, my mind fired off one imagined scene after another of horrific outcomes.
Though I never stepped outside the tent or touched a beast of any sort, I suffered a brutal attack of the mind. I wrestled that lion. And lost. Because I let him get the best of my thoughts.
But, please know, you don’t have to go to a foreign land to get stalked by a lion.
We see this in today’s passage of Scripture when Peter warns believers, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The enemy isn’t just looking to distract you, or tempt you, or pull you slightly off course. He’s looking to devour you. But we must remember something crucial. The devil is vicious, but he’s not victorious. And you, my friend, have everything you need to defeat him.
We don’t have to lie shaking in our beds with a death grip on the covers, feeling powerless and deathly afraid. A closer look at 1 Peter 5:8-9 shows us how we can actually come out on the other side of these moments with the enemy tested and true.
Peter first tells us we must be “sober-minded” and “watchful.” This reminder to be sober-minded, or self-controlled, shows up three separate times in this letter. (1 Peter 1:13, 4:7 and 5:8) The specific reason given in 1 Peter 4:7 is that “the end of all things is at hand.”Satan knows the end is fast approaching. He is a defeated foe who has already suffered a fatal blow. But before he falls, he’ll try to make as many last kills as possible. With everything he’s got left, he’s coming after us. This is why we must be ever watchful.
Next, Peter instructs us in 1 Peter 5:9a to “resist him [the devil].” It is the same reminder we find in Ephesians 6:11 and James 4:7. We cannot remain passive in this fight. We must actively resist the devil by standing firm in our faith. And we find the power to stand firm in our faith when we put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Finally, Peter encourages us with the knowledge that “the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:9b, ESV). We aren’t alone in this battle. Instead, we are knit together as a body of believers both by our shared love for Christ and our shared suffering for Him.
Obviously, most of us don’t have lions regularly brush by our homes, but we do have daily brushes with the enemy. And just like the lion’s power over me that night stopped the minute the guards showed up, Satan is rendered powerless the moment we tap into the power of God’s Word like we’re doing today.
Yes, truth is the perfect protection against our enemy.
Let’s remember this. Receive this. Use this. Practice this. Live this.
Father God, I’m so thankful You haven’t left us defenseless. Your promises are always a perfect match for our problems. And our problem-instigator, the devil — the one Scripture says roams around like a lion — is no match for Your promises. Your promises don’t tame the lion; they shame the lion back to hell. They shut his mouth. Turn his roar into a whimper. And make him run when we choose to live by Your Word and Your ways. Guide us, equip us and infuse us with holy confidence as we stand firm today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV)
One of the enemy’s favorite schemes is to try to make us feel left out, lonely and less than. Let God remind you that you are destined for a love that can never be diminished, tarnished, shaken or taken with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited. Order your copy here today.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one area of your life where you need to use God’s Word to quiet the enemy? Share any Scripture you’ve been using with us here today.
© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 12 September 2019.