Be Vigilant – I Peter 5:8

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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Our family used to enjoy watching the small prairie dogs in the Black Hills of South Dakota. These animals live in underground communities connected by a series of tunnels and surface holes. For safety reasons, when they come outside for food, they stay very close to a means of escape. They frequently stand up on their back legs looking, with great vigilance, for any predator. They aren’t the smartest of God’s creation. Hunters often shoot one of the prairie dogs and another standing right beside it simply looks in bewilderment at its dead companion. But if a human gets anywhere close, they quickly vanish into the safety of their den.

In Peter’s parting words in his first epistle, he warns: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). The intended word picture is one of a powerful, hungry, and mature lion on the prowl looking for prey. Its victim may not even be aware it is being stalked with stealth until fatally within the lion’s unmerciful clutches. As a spiritual being, Satan is an unseen enemy who constantly prowls searching for any he can attack, particularly believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan can use false teachers, appeal to our flesh to pursue sinful paths, or even use other believers to “devour” us in discouragement. The Lord wanted Peter to inform the saints of this constant danger and specifically warn them to be “vigilant.” Being vigilant means to be awake, watchful, or alert. Believers must not become careless or indifferent to the attacks of our enemy. If we do not choose to be consistently alert to our ever-present danger, we will make ourselves easy prey for our enemy. Therefore, believers are to be “sober,” or serious minded, about this threat. This means to not only look for Satan’s attacks, but to “resist,” or stand against them, in the power of the Lord. James gave the encouraging promise, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Satan cannot overpower a believer, nor can he be successful, unless one is careless, unprepared, or facing Satan in one’s own strength.

The Apostle Paul likewise warns about our constant struggle against satanic forces (Ephesians 6:11-13). To be prepared for this danger, we are instructed to put on the “whole armour of God” that we might be able “to stand” victorious in His power. Are you dressing for this battle daily?

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."