“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
When I was a kid, I used to like to play pranks on my Dad. Nothing big, but just little pranks that I thought were funny like stealing some of his food while he wasn’t looking. He used to always say that payback was coming. His warning was “when you least expect it, expect it.” He had the advantage of not being a little kid and being able to plan out his revenge a little better than I ever did. What his warning meant was that he would be patient and wait until I had forgotten all about it and completely let my guard down before he would strike with his counterattack.
Of course, that was all just fun and games, so it doesn’t match up with the seriousness of our verse for today, but his warning applies here too. When we least expect it, that’s when the devil will pounce.
That’s why Peter warns us to be alert and sober minded. I don’t think this verse was primarily meant as a counterargument for drunkenness or using drugs, but it definitely does apply to those things as well. The point is that at all times, regardless of where we are or who we’re with or what we’re doing, the devil is waiting for us to let our guard down so that he can attack. That certainly does make a good argument about avoiding drunkenness, but it also extends far beyond that.
In our day to day lives, how aware are we of the devil’s tactics in trying to lure us into sin? How often do we stop to think about the reality that behind every temptation is the truth that Satan is trying to steal our souls away? For me, even when I recognize a temptation and am fighting against it, I often fail to think of the real seriousness of it.
Satan is your enemy. He is actively trying to destroy you. He wants to devour you. It’s not just you, it’s all of us. Why? Because he hates God and he hates you. He doesn’t want you to have freedom, or life, or truth. He wants to persuade you that the sin God warns against is actually harmless fun. He wants to persuade you that you’re the most important thing, others should come second. He wants you to worship yourself, the world, anything but God. He wants to keep you from the eternal life in heaven that he doesn’t have.
Be alert. Be clear-minded. Don’t let your guard down even for a minute. The devil is lurking just around the corner waiting for you to slip.
Thankfully, when we do slip, we have a helper. Jesus is there too. For every time we fall, he’s there to pick us up. And every time that we’re doomed to the mouth of the prowling lion, Jesus comes to our rescue. He will always have victory over Satan, and when you’re with him, so will you. Don’t wander, don’t stray. Stay close, and stay alert.
Help us to realize the gravity of our struggle with sin. Help us to never take sin lightly or convince ourselves that it is no big deal. Protect us from Satan and his lies and temptations. Forgive our sins, and deliver us to eternal life with you.
In Jesus’ Name,