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Our Adversary the Devil

Peter looks to strengthen us to resist the efforts of our enemy the devil.

“Be sober, be vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV) 

On the eve of His crucifixion. Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the Garden of Gethsemane where He would pour out His heart in prayer, committing Himself to the will of His Father in the mission of redemption. Three times Jesus returned to His waiting disciples and three times He found them sleeping. He roused them with words of warning: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). 

No doubt Peter had that admonition in mind when he writes to believers then and now: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Like we would be alert and on guard for an assailant intent on our harm since the fall of Adam (cf. Gen. 4:7), we must have our wits about us and be wide awake in view of an ever-present danger for us in this present evil age. 

Peter describes the devil as a roaring lion. He is on the prowl and he is fearsome. His prey are those who bear the name of Jesus. He devours them through his lies and efforts to lure them from Christ, to thwart the gospel, and to undermine the Kingdom (Rev. 14:12, 17). 

Jesus made Peter aware of the intentions of our spiritual enemy. “And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren'” (Luke 22:31–32). 

In broaching the subject Peter looks to do just that, strengthen us to resist the efforts of our enemy the devil. The word  translated “resist” means “to stand against,” the very same tactic advocated by Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:10-14). To stand means to abide in Christ, steadfast in His redemption against Satan’s accusations, in His strength against Satan’s temptations, and in His word against Satan’s deceptions. 

Only in Christ do we overcome and have peace in the wartime footing of this age (1 Pet. 5:14). As He did for Peter, our Lord prays for us (John 17:15-17), and enjoins us to find security and strength in dependence upon Him. 

REFLECTION: Satan’s ally within is the pride in our heart. 

Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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