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Hello, Emily Allison coming at you from my blog, Good Stewards a community of people dedicated to being good stewards of their health, life, and world. I think we can all say that 2020 has been quite a year- and I’m curious, how many of you, or maybe better yet, how many times have you stopped and asked yourself, “What the heck is going on?!”. Well I’ve certainly asked myself that question many times, and in this podcast, I’m going to answer it.
You see, when we’re walking with the Lord, we really shouldn’t be blindsided by the fact that Satan is always working, and we can see the results of his work in the sinful and fallen world around us. I’ve known the answer to the hatred, deception, violence, etc. that we’ve seen this past year (or past several years) in our country and across and the world is a result of sin and ultimately the answer is Jesus, but recently I was reading a passage from 1 Peter that really clarified to me exactly what is going on and how we as Christians can protect ourselves from it, and not only that, but fight against the devil and his wicked schemes.
1 Peter 5: 6-9 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Alright, look we as Christians have a lot going on in our culture that requires us to exercise discernment in how to live out our faith in a culture that is very anti-biblical. From the immoral content of just about every movie and tv show there is, to the one sided political agenda in the media, to the laws of the land like abortion and homosexuality that are completely opposite of what the Bible says is good and right in God’s sight, down to the events of recent months of Black Lives Matter, covid, and the most hateful, divided political culture probably that many of us have ever experienced.
What is this verse telling Christians about the world around us? First, In this verse, Peter tells us how to choose what God says over what our culture says. He tells us how to resist the pressure to bow to culture over kingdom, even when we are under persecution to do so. In verse 6 he gives us the answer: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s Mighty Hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” What is humility when you’re a christian? Humility is obedience. We see this in Philippians 2:8, talking about Jesus: “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus humbled himself to the point of leaving his place in paradise to become one of us and live with us, and eventually, die a horrible death in obedience to the father’s will. If Jesus can do that, we must be very careful to humble ourselves enough to obey God’s word and God’s way over culture pressure. Practical ways to do this is to ask ourselves: What is true? What does God command me to do according to His word? Are we willing to look unpopular, outdated, and foolish by the world? Are we willing to be persecuted and scorned and scoffed at for standing with what is right instead of what is accepted? Are we willing to trade in faithful service to God, which is of eternal value, in exchange for the pride and feel good acceptance that comes with jumping on the ever changing cultural bandwagon?
This is a hard thing to do, which is why he tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” God is not far away. If you are a child of God, then God is with you in this battle. God is guiding you and protecting you. He loves you. When the pressures and persecution of this world begin to overwhelm us, we can cast our fears and burdens on Him, and He will sustain us and help us through it. We don’t know what the future will mean for us as christians, but we do know that we have a good, faithful God who is with us every step of the way.
Next, it’s telling us the main cause of these issues and warning us how to protect ourselves. The reason for the brokenness around us is: Satan. Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour- and Peter is telling christians point blank, that we’re on Satan’s hit list. You living out your faith in your life, your marriage, your children, your church- he wants to attack you and destroy you. He WANTS to destroy you. And He is TRYING to destroy you. Right now, right where you are, Satan has already drawn the battle lines and is at this very moment, waging a war over your life. If you’re not aware of this, you need to wake up. And thankfully, as we’ll go over in our next point, Peter tells us how:
Peter tells us, “be alert and of sober mind.” So he’s saying that Satan’s battle ground over your life is happening first and foremost in your MIND, ok, the MIND is the devils playground. That is where He is going to attack you before anything else. If you want to know what is in your heart, look at what types of things are in your mind: Those things will eventually make their way into your actions. The way to be on guard against the attacks from the devil, is by, being alert and aware of their existence and watching and discerning what types of things you are allowing to enter, influence, and sway your mind and therefore your actions, and by being sober minded, so not letting the distractions and influences of this world delude your spiritual and biblical senses and make your mind basically drunk and not fully operating in tune with God and where it should be. Alright, so, be on the alert that Satan is working in the events around you to try to wage attacks against your mind, and be focused on the important things: What the Bible says and how it should affect the way you think and act.
Alright, so that’ step 1. And as always, I want to make these podcasts as practical and applicable to your life as possible, so let’s throw out some examples here: What are some practical applications for this step? I think the main one is, Pay attention. Pay attention to the message behind the TV shows and the movies you’re watching. Pay attention to the sources you’re getting your information from. Pay attention to the funding and the people that influence and control the sources you’re getting your information from. Pay attention to the headlines and actually research and think through a news report for yourself instead of just letting the headline and the packaged narrative do the thinking for you. Discern and ask yourself, not what is this party or this group’s stance on this issue, but what is God’s stance? What does the Bible say?
This leads me to the next and final part of the passage: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” When we are aware of Satan’s schemes and attacks around us, we must resist him. We do this by standing firm in the faith. Faith that God is who He says He is, and faith in who we are in Him. You see, the devil is a liar. John 8:44 says “he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan not only lies constantly through the world around us, but he lies to our minds by assaulting our identity in Christ, by questioning God’s words and what they really mean just as he questioned Eve in the garden “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”. By standing firm in our faith in who God says He is, that what He says is true, and who we are in Him, we can fend off the assaults of Satan. Just as Ephesians 6:16 when talking about the armor of God says, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Satan doubts and questions and condemns, but by faith in God, we call him a liar and are free.
And lastly, we know we are not alone, “because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” All through the Bible and all through the world right now, others are taking up their cross and following Christ, Dying to themselves, so that they may live with Christ. We are not alone, and the hope we have as christians in this life and the life to come is worth far more than any comfort or acceptance this world has to offer.
Matthew 16: 24-26 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
Be blessed, be encouraged, and be a good steward of the gift of grace that is being saved, and being a disciple of Christ.