I have a problem with my driveway. It wants to grow grass. All spring and summer, I can plant seeds, water, and fertilize my yard . . . and see no new grass grow. However, zipping back and forth across my driveway are shoots of green reaching for the sky.
To be fair, however, I must note that grass does not grow everywhere on my driveway, only in the cracks. This makes sense, doesn’t it? The concrete is too dense to allow anything up or down in most spots. Only where pressure and weakness have created a fissure can the unwanted grass make its way up. Only a squirt of Roundup can destroy these saplings.
I was thinking about that as I read 1 Peter 5:8-11. In these verses Peter warns Christians about Satan who is roaring about like a lion seeking to devour his prey. At first glance this section seems like a random conclusion to the letter. However, a second read reveals that the inclusion of these verses is very strategic and relevant to Peter’s argument.
As we have seen, the book of 1 Peter is about the grace God gives to Christians, allowing them to stand firm while they are living in the hostile environment of this world. Indeed, Christians were being persecuted and maligned for their faith, along with a number of other fiery trials. Life was hard. As Peter concluded his letter, he wanted Christians to realize that Satan wants to take advantage of these hard times to try to make Christians waver in their faith.
In a sense, Satan knows that in good times, our faith may remain as strong as concrete. However, Satan is waiting for the pressures of this life, persecution, and our own weaknesses to create fissures where his lies and temptations can take root and tear us down. Like grass peaking through my driveway, Satan wants his misery to overcome our firm foundation.
Have you ever seen this to be true in your life? I have felt it in mine. When things are good, we easily say God is good, but when life falls apart, we wonder if God cares at all. Too often we fail to call these doubts what they are: Satanic attacks. The devil is prowling around, waiting for life to wear us down, then he wants to pounce on our depression.
To combat this, Peter gives several exhortations to Roundup Satan’s lies:
- “Be sober-minded”: Do not get drunk on your emotions and allow them to destroy what you know is true about God.
- “Be watchful”: Know the triggers in your life of times/seasons where you are tempted to doubt God. Satan wants to trick you in these times. Be on guard in your times of weakness.
- “Resist him”: No offensive attack is necessary here . . . Jesus has already won the battle. Simply stand firm in the victory Jesus has already won. Don’t give in to his lies.
- “Firm in your faith”: Maintain strong conviction in truths of Scripture.
- “Knowing that the same kind of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world”: Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can play the “poor me” game. When difficulty comes we quickly think we have it worse than others. Though the particulars of our suffering are unique, difficulty is as universal as the sun. We don’t have to hide our struggles, they allow us to be a part of the “club” called Christianity.
- “As you have suffered for a little while”: Remember that the trials we go through are for a short time compared to eternity.
- “The God of all grace . . . will restore”: Our hope against Satan is found in our God who will give us the grace to stand now and will glorify us in the future!
- “To Him be the dominion forever and ever”: We are living in Jesus’ Kingdom. We know he has overcome Satan and we can share in His victory.
As we live out our life in Christ, let us not allow Satan to exploit the cracks in our concrete to sprout forth his lies. Follow the exhortation of Peter and allow Jesus to round up the devil’s darts before they take root.
Join us this Sunday, August 9, 2015 at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:30 or 10:50 worship services as I preach a message based on 1 Peter 5:6-11.
To access the entire “True Grace” Study, click here.