Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Devil, Your Adversary

1 Peter 5:8b Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

We've heard this a lot. The devil, always on the lookout, is ready to pounce on us if he catches us wandering along, innocent and unprotected, down a quiet country lane. We see a picture of the lion and the lamb, only in this case, the lion isn't laying down quietly, enjoying a snack of grass with the lamb, but is devouring the sweet, gentle lamb who is just sitting around trying to be sweet.

Interesting picture - but not at all what Peter is trying to say. First of all, let's look at the whole verse:

1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 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.

What are the key words here? "Be," "resist," "faith," suffering." First of all, the picture of the little lamb doesn't bring one quickly to the scene of suffering. And "resist?" The lamb doesn't present much of a picture of resistance, either. In the first picture, he's totally vulnerable and helpless to defend himself. Peter presents a different picture here.

First of all, what's the book of 1 Peter about? It's about how to deal with suffering. It's all about trials, tribulations, suffering, and how to deal with it in a Godly way. It's about oppression, submitting to and honoring harsh authorities, and sharing the sufferings of Christ.

So what's the fifth chapter about? It's about a final entreaty to leaders to be good leaders, followers to be good followers, and everyone to learn how to handle suffering in accordance with God's will. It's a picture of ultimate strength in the power of God - yielding to God's will in your suffering. Peter is not painting a picture of a defenseless lamb.

So what happens if we don't? The devil, our adversary, will devour us. Whom will he devour? Those who allow their suffering to crush them. Those who are angry, bitter, resentful, vengeful, beat down, depressed, anxious, grumblers, prideful.

What does "being devoured" look like? It means that the character qualities of Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit, will not be present in your lives.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

If you submit to the suffering, if you harbor anger, resentment, depression, etc., then where is there room for love, joy, kindness, gentleness, and the rest? These are the delicacies that the devil devours.

Why does he do this? Because it makes you a bad witness for the Kingdom of God. No one would be impressed by or drawn to a Lord with disciples who are bitter and angry. The devil loves it.

So how do you resist him? By never underestimating the destructive power of bitterness and anger (be of sober spirit and alert), by fighting with all the strength you can muster through Christ Jesus the fleshly urges to yield to those destructive feelings, and by remembering that there are Christians all over the world who are suffering as you are. Lean on them, remember them, pray for them, yield to the call of Christ.

You are NOT a defenseless little lamb walking innocently in the wilderness. You are a mighty warrior of Christ with the whole armour of God to protect you. The devil can only devour you with your permission. Don't give it to him.

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Resist the urge to rest in your bitterness borne of suffering, be firm in your faith. Pray without ceasing. Be obedient to the will of God by receiving and embracing the Fruit of the Spirit in Christ's name and through His power.

God bless you all in your struggles against the enemy.



At August 25, 2005 5:32 PM, Blogger Trail Rider said...

it is soooo important to take the WHOLE word. It's amazing how entire cults are made by the same word that we read. You can twist pretty much anything you want to suit your exuses....(I wouldn't know....I've NEVER done that! LOL)
Too many of us blame the devil for our actions and choices. Yes, he is the father of lies and wants us dead and hates God, but without those bad choices, without a heart of rebellion, he is powerless in our lives.
Good post!

At August 26, 2005 8:06 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Extremely well said, Carebear. Amen to that.

At April 13, 2011 8:29 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The devil has zero to do with your mental health.

What does have EVERYTHING to do with it is how much god has protected you (as in Sue's case, or not as in mine) and/or given you good genes (as in Sue's case, or bad as in mine).

If you come from a life where you aren't god's chosen and you suffer from clinical depression, there's no way the argument about the devil causing your depression really is even germane, since you belong to the devil anyway, right? Might as well learn how to make yourself happy, because god's not ever going to lift a finger to do it for you.

Bottom line is that if god's really in control and you're his, you don't have to worry about the devil like he's more powerful than god and can put one over on god anytime he wants to (many churches unwittingly teach this as often as they constantly claim the opposite, and the purpose of that is to keep you under their thumb). God's in control when he wants to be in control and not when you want him to be, so whatever you do...don't blame yourself if something bad happens to you despite your best effort. Blame god. It's his will.

"If you submit to the suffering"...that is utterly ridiculous and extremely insulting to most people's intelligence. Just like something you would read in "The Secret".

Get a clue on what Sue "the biblical therapist" is all about. It ain't about you. It's all about her.


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