1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
Lions attack those who are weak, young, or struggling. In short, lions attack those who are vulnerable. In this passage, the Devil is compared to a lion waiting to devour us. DEVOUR! That is a very strong word. The Devil is not out to mess with us for fun. He is not out to try us a little. He is not looking to cause a small amount of grief in our lives. He is out to destroy us! In fact, the Devil is prowling around us looking for a weak spot in our lives where he can attack.
God is a powerful God and he can stop the Devil from attacking us. Part of the blessing of being a Christian is the fact that God is in control. He is our protector from evil. We have all prayed for God to surround and protect us. When I think about God protecting me, I think about angel wings wrapped around me, shielding me from harm. I think about a fence that surrounds my house that keeps evil at bay. I think about how mighty God is.
Inside of God’s protection I am strong. I am shielded. I am protected.
What about when I am not at my best? What about when I am weak and I allow sin to come in and create a distance in my relationship with God? Is sin causing a weak spot in God’s fence that surrounds me? The Devil is like a lion pressing in on the walls of the fence that surrounds me. He is looking to find a weak spot to get in. Sin is that weak spot.
When I am weak, I have two options. I can either stay weak and in my sin OR I can fall on my knees before a loving and forgiving God and lay my sin at His feet. God lets me choose what I will do. He does not force me to turn over my weaknesses to Him. He wants me to, but He does not demand it. So ultimately, I have to make a choice between God or sin.
When you sit back and analyze it like this, it looks like a no brainer, an easy choice. Surely we will all choose God. Right? When you are living it, it is not always as clear of a choice. Life is hard. Life is busy. It is easy to go on auto-pilot and not take the time we need to keep up a proper relationship with God. Sometimes we get frustrated while we are caught up in the sin that we are dealing with, and we even pray quick prayers asking for forgiveness. We try to do better. That is a good start. What I have personally found is that this is a start, but ultimately it just isn’t enough. God wants me to humbly fall on my face before Him, confess my sin, confess my need for Him, and turn my weaknesses over to Him. I have also personally seen how when I get angry about my sin and cry out to Him to help me, He comes to me and literally picks me up off the floor. What a mighty God we serve!
When I get angry with sin, then God knows that restoration is truly desired. I believe that this is the firm stand that He is talking about in verse 9.
Sin is not pretty. It is not to be taken lightly. Christ died for my sins and I should be angry when the Devil tries to tempt me and make me vulnerable. Verse 8 warns us to be careful, to watch out for attacks from the Devil. The only way we can do that is by having a good relationship with God. The closer our relationship is with God, the stronger that fence around us becomes. Satan can’t mess with what is under God’s protection. It’s only when we let sin weaken our fence that the lion (the Devil) has an opportunity to get in to us.
The good news is that if we keep our eyes on Christ, and resist the Devil, then “he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If the Devil is a lion, then he is always looking for easy prey. He is not looking to go after someone with a support system like the one God supplies to us as His children. We have to make the choice of what we will do. Will we stand strong and stay inside God’s walls of protection, or will we sin and continue to let Satan prowl around us looking for and finding weak spots? No one is perfect and we all sin, but we have a choice on how we will deal with it.
God gives us the tools we need to strengthen our relationship with Him. If we truly viewed sin as seriously as God does, then sinning would not be something that we would ever take lightly. Never forget that sin nailed Christ to the cross. If you pictured His nail scarred hands every time you sinned, then dealing with your sin would not be as easy to shove to the end of your to do list. Nails can wound and nails can build. Will we continue to use sin as nails through our Savior’s hands, or will we use nails as a tool to build back up any weak spots in the protective fence that God provides freely for us?
If we sin, we need to immediately confess it to God and let Him bear the weight of our struggles. Letting God have our mistakes calls for action, not passivity. Don’t let your sin control you even briefly. Get rid of it. The trials in your life make you a partner with Christ. When you are weak, rely on His strength. He will guide you and strengthen you along the journey of life. Romans 8:31b says, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Don’t ever forget what an awesome God we serve. Let Him strengthen you and guide you along the journey of life. Don’t ever forget that God is the lion tamer and we are not in this alone.
Written by Laurie Bosley.