How would you act differently if you knew a lion was seeking to devour you?
Read / Listen
Read 1 Peter 5:6-11
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 127
Q. What does the sixth request mean?
A. “And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one” means,
By ourselves we are too weak
to hold our own even for a moment.
And our sworn enemies—
the devil, the world, and our own flesh—
never stop attacking us.
And so, Lord,
uphold us and make us strong
with the strength of your Holy Spirit,
so that we may not go down to defeat
in this spiritual struggle,
but may firmly resist our enemies
until we finally win the complete victory.
Peter's tremendous benediction begins with a call to humility, to literally put yourself under God's mighty hand. You're not to do this out of a sense of groveling, as if putting yourself down low will somehow enhance the chances of God giving you what you want, rather, it's as you yield your will to His that you will be lifted up when the time comes.
Verse 7 is well worth memorizing: "cast all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you!"
But these words of comfort are followed by a stark warning: a reminder that you live in the midst of a great spiritual war, and your enemy is on the hunt. Perhaps these words seem a bit over the top here, as if Peter's getting a little carried away with his rhetoric. But he's not; if anything, Peter is using quite restrained language here, compared to the vivid war scene John reports in Revelation 12.
The last thing Peter wants to do in this passage is frighten you. Yes, the devil is prowling around seeking to devour you, but you can and must resist him. What Peter wants you to know here is that although this roaring lion can hurt you - even rip off an arm or leg, so to speak, if you stand still long enough - but ultimately all the beast can do is seek to devour you.
The devil can not completely devour you because of what Peter teaches us in his first four chapters, and accentuates in today's final verse: you've been called by God to belong to Him, so you can be certain that the God of all grace will Himself fully restore you and complete the work He's begun in you.
Certainly we'd all be much more alert if we could actually see the devil prowling around us like a lion. The distractions the world throws at us wouldn't divert our attention one bit if we could see its sharp teeth and smell its acrid breath as the hellish creature roared at us.
Just remember that even though the spiritual realm is beyond what we can sense, it is no less real than the physical things you can see, touch, hear, smell and taste. So take Peter's warning/blessing here seriously!
You're given three instructions you must follow to keep the devil at bay:
Humble yourself and cast your anxiety upon your Father, which we've already reviewed;
Be alert and of sober mind: This lion rarely relies on brute force. His most effective strategy is to lull his prey to sleep with worldly distractions and anxieties. Keep your mind sharp (sober) by reading and thinking about God's Word every day. Let go of the distractions you can't avoid by casting the anxiety that results from them onto your Father!
Resist him: Ultimately you are stronger than the lion! But certainly not in your own strength; you must stand firm in the faith! Remember that it is God who makes you strong, firm and steadfast in Christ.
This is what you're praying for when you pray the simple line, "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one."
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of all grace, who lifts you up in His mighty hand;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the strength to be humble and alert, so that you can stand firm in the faith and resist the devil;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 19