Resist the Devil, Firm in Your Faith

1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Humble Yourselves

If we are humble, we are not proud or haughty. We do not think too highly of ourselves, but we don’t think too lowly of ourselves, either. For self-abasement is not humility. Often times it is inverted pride and for the purpose to gain attention and sympathy for oneself. So, there is such a thing as false humility if one makes a practice of belittling oneself, such as saying, “I am no good, everyone else is better than me,” and the like. And that begs the response, “Oh, no, you are good,” and the like.

This is not to say that people can’t sometimes share testimonies of abuse or persecution and how God used that in their lives to mature them in their walks of faith and to teach them godliness. The apostle Paul frequently shared such testimonies for the encouragement of others who were going through similar circumstances, for their encouragement, and so they did not lose hope. So, it is not wrong to give your story if it serves a purpose to help others who may be suffering as you suffered.

Yet, to be humble is to think with sober and honest judgment about oneself. It is to be willing to serve others rather than to be served. It will love when love is not returned, and even if love is returned with hate. It will not take credit when credit is not due. It will take a lowlier position on a job even if one is qualified for something higher. And it will be willing to have others think evil of oneself rather than put another down, but this doesn’t mean not standing for what is right and not exposing lies which are hurting others.

All Your Anxieties

Jesus Christ never promised us that if we follow him with our lives that everything will go well for us, that we will be well liked, that we will be treated always with love and kindness, and that everyone will gladly receive us – who we are and what we stand for and what we do. Rather, he promised us the opposite of that. And so when we choose to follow Jesus with our lives, and if we obey him in doing what he says to do and to say, we need to be ready to be hated, rejected, persecuted, and abandoned.

So, when the things happen to us that the Scriptures teach us will happen to us if we are followers of Christ, although certainly painful at the time, and it is likely that the circumstances may bring us to tears and to cry out to God in our suffering, we are to trust the Lord fully. We are not to fear what others will do to us or say to us or about us or what opinion they might have of us or if they are nasty and hateful or if they just plain ignore us. We are to trust the Lord through it all that he will bring good out of it.

Sober-Minded and Watchful

We can’t follow Jesus Christ with our lives and not be aware that we have an enemy hot on our trail just looking for ways to trip us up and to get us to fail and to get us to get discouraged and to give up. And we can’t just ignore him as though he does not exist and just go on with our lives untouched if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives wholeheartedly. For if we are committed to Christ and to his word and to obeying him, Satan is going to be committed to coming against us and to trying to bring us down.

So we better be watchful, and we better be sober-minded, because this is warfare. This is a spiritual battle that we are in for our own lives as well as for the salvation of others. And Satan is not going to just run away and hide. He may leave you alone sometimes, but he is still lurking in the corners somewhere just waiting for the opportunity to devour us who follow Jesus with our lives. He wasn’t able to finish Jesus off, though he thought he did, and so now he is going after his servants who love and obey the Lord.

So, when he roars his ugly head, which he will, and he will use our circumstances and/or other humans to do his dirty work for him, we better be prepared to resist him. We need to have our guard up all the time. And we definitely cannot play with evil, not even one teensy bit. And the more that we go after him and his servants and his lies, the more he is going to come after us, too. So, we have to be walking firm in our faith without wavering or vacillating between opinions. On Christ the Solid Rock we must take our stand. All other ground is sinking sand. It surely is!

The God of All Grace

Now, let me tell you something about God. He is all loving and kind, and full of mercy and grace, but because he loves us he disciplines us, and he disciplines us through the things which he allows us to suffer, which are for our ultimate good, though they may not feel good at the time. For suffering, if we respond to it in the right way, will help develop within us godly character and maturity, and it will teach us perseverance and steadfastness of faith which does not give up. And we will learn to rely on God and not on ourselves in and for all things. And we will learn to love others, too.

So, if we are going to make it through this life and all the trials and tribulations which will most definitely come our way, we have to put our trust fully in the sovereignty of God, believing that he is absolutely in control over all things and that nothing can touch us unless God allows it, or unless we do something to cause it by our own stubbornness and so he lets us go for it. The point being, though, that if we are following Jesus with our lives our suffering serves a purpose and so we need to grow through our suffering and not let it take us out.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Rejoice in the Lord

By Ron Hamilton

God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.

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