“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
I’m tired of playing defense. Scripture is clear that we will be hated (1 Jn. 3:13) and attacked by our adversary the devil (1 Pet. 5:8), but I’m done waiting around for him to attack. We are at war with Satan. This year has started off with many in our congregation unexpectedly and suddenly losing loved ones. Death is most certainly our enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26); his sword pierces deeply. Yet the death of God’s saints is far from unnoticed by our Gracious Lord (Psalm 116:15). In the end, all who lose their life on the battlefield in service to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will return victoriously resurrected behind our Resurrected Lord (Rev. 7:9ff).
Jesus states that there are only two sides in this war – absolutely no neutrality – one who is not against us is for us (Mark 9:338ff). There’s no fence upon which we may sit and watch the battle rage. You are in the midst of the battle. You are a warrior, a soldier, already armed and at the front line. For the sake of your life and the lives of those around you, you must realize the battle will continue to rage until we hear the final trumpet sound and the voice of our Lord thunder across the heavens (1 Thess. 4:16).
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour – he would love it to be you. Therefore, be sober-minded (not drunk and careless in your thinking) and be watchful (1 Pet 5:8). Satan is looking for you to slip up, to believe you have everything under control, to not lean on your Lord, to be angry with God, to doubt God’s goodness for you, etc. Like a ravenous beast, he then pounces upon you and takes you down. Be watchful – watch yourself; cling to your faith in Jesus; trust in the Lord always; look to the cross; remember your Baptism; feast on the Body and Blood of your Lord regularly; read, study, and memorize His Word – be watchful.
There will be losses along the way, but as we lose our lives for Christ’s sake, He welcomes us into eternal life (Matt. 10:39, 16:25, Mar. 8:35, Luk 9:24, 17:33, Jn. 12:25). The enemy cannot win. He stands no chance. We are on the right side! We are on the side of Almighty God. The Lord Jesus Christ takes up His arms of war and leads us into battle.
It’s time to go on the offensive. It’s time to proclaim the truth to a world that the Prince of Lies believes has all to himself. It’s time to love the way Jesus loves, not only the people we know, but those people we do not yet know. It’s time to stop being afraid that we may suffer loss. In Christ, I count all things as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil 3:8). It’s time to stand firm in our faith, armored by God (Eph. 6:10ff), and attack the enemy who seeks to devour us. Take the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and go to work! Jesus, give us strength to stand. Amen.