Resistance is NOT futile, it is Vital!

“…Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (v9a)

Some Thoughts…

   Peter has already told us to keep our heads in these last days (see 4:7) reminding us to keep a clear, alert, and sober minds so that we can pray (that is to stay connected to God through life’s trials)… And now the apostle gives us some sober thoughts to think as we attempt to live with clear minds and alert hearts full of faith in a faithless world.

1) There is a powerful and formidable enemy.

   Peter gives three word pictures to help us understand the enemy of our souls.  “Enemy” literally means “the adversary” like an opponent in a lawsuit.  “The devil” can be translated “slanderer” or “accuser” (He is referred to as “the accuser of the brethren in Revelation 12:10.  And, there is the “roaring lion” imagery which may conjure up thoughts of the Roman coliseum and the massacre of Christians being fed to the lions.  

2) Our enemy is crafty with an end-game of destruction!

  But the real key to understand the way Satan works in the phrase “prowls around”. He does it “by stealth” looking for the perfect moment to take us off guard” (Swindoll).  And his objective is to devour us or “to drink us up.”  Satan doesn’t need to possess us to devour us.  He just needs to distract us from God’s grace and get us focused on God’s wrath with false accusations, and penetrating condemnation of our weaknesses… Once he has done that he can swallow us whole in our guilt and doubts to the point that we forget what we once believed as true.

3) Resistance is NOT futile, it is vital!

   That is why our defense is not an offensive attack against him.  No, it is the same as Jesus’ defense in the wilderness we hold on to the truth of God’s word. We simply stand and resist him – “the Greek word translated “resist” means “to withstand, to be firm against someone else’s onset” rather  than “to strive against that one.”  (Kenneth S. Wuest)  Our focus is not on the enemy, but on the Word of God and our unyielding faith that it is true and God’s plan and promises are trustworthy ( also see James 4:7).

   “The danger to the Christian is that he fails to resist, that he will not watch and pray, that he will not put on the full armor of God and take the sword of the Sprit.”  (Clowney p. 215)  Yet, if we will, God promises that Satan will leave just like he did with Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).   But He will keep being on the prowl awaiting the next opportunity to attack and accuse!  We must stay ready, alert, and sober!

2) We are not alone in our faith struggles. 

   Many have walked the path we are on and felt the sting of accusation and battle to hold on to simple faith; we are not alone!  No room for “poor little me” pity-parties – we are in this together; a whole Kingdom of priests!  And there are many who endure much worse than we have… We must never forget that there are many “undergoing the same kind of suffering”.  So I can stand by faith on the One who is calling us all home.

This is what I must have:  A sober attitude of self-control and wide awake alertness that resists Satan and that chooses to stand by faith realizing I do not fight or stand alone.

A Prayer…

Father, help me stand today and resist the tricks of our adversary in Your strength and power as You give me the faith I need for the tasks ahead…Amen.