Peter knows all too well the link between suffering and Satan. Peters warning about Satan's opposition becomes clearer. Twice Peter falls prey to Satan's attacks. The first time is in Matthew 16 where Peter rebuked Christ for bringing up the subject of His suffering since Peter had only thoughts of glory and triumph. Jesus says to Peter ‘get behind me Satan's’ assigning to Peter the spirit of Satan that attempts to divert Jesus from doing the will of the Father. Later, just before the Lords arrest, Jesus warned Peter of Satan's demand to ‘sift him like wheat’ Luke 22:31-32. Satan wants to pick Peter apart and that is exactly what happens when Peter denies Christ. These experiences form the basis of the warning we are about to receive when we too find ourselves under pressure concerning our faith. What is it we must know so that we can be "Believers Beware"?
1. WE MUST BE ON CONSTANT ALERT BECAUSE SATAN WILL ATTACK US 5:8
While we are to place our confidence always in the Lord we must not be careless. Satan we are told is always looking for an advantage over us. We can be especially vulnerable when our faith is under fire for some reason. When we are suffering as believers in some way. That seems to be a vulnerable moment that the demonic network attempts to take advantage of. It was so with Peter. So we are commanded to live soberly, with self-control and to stay awake and watchful. It is like ringing a bell sharply ‘be alert’ ‘be awake’. The spiritual warfare we wage demands vigilance.
- You are a target of Satan. That is what we learn from the description here. His goal is to defeat you, your testimony, your faith and your God. The idea of the description of a lion in the pursuit of prey, to place fright in them and eventually devour the frightened prey. He is on the prowl God tells us especially when he sees a weakened or shaken faith. The moment you came to faith in Christ you placed yourself on the front lines of spiritual warfare. I am not sure exactly how he will attack you but he will and he does. There are at least two things we must keep in mind as to how Satan will attack us. Two reasons why we must stay on red alert.
2. WE ARE TO RESIST SATAN 5:9
The idea is to take a defensive posture instead of an offensive one. We are not commanded to attack him. We are to resist strong in our faith. We are to resist not to rebuke. Resisting is our business and rebuking Satan is Gods. The only way we can have the strength to withstand Satan’s attacks is to be dependent upon a source of power superior to that of us or Satan. When we are successful we can be tempted with pride. When we suffer we can be tempted with doubt and unbelief. On the one hand we can think that we can go it alone and on the other that God has abandoned us so we can act independently of God and His Word.
- But we can stand strong in our faith he tells us because we know that we are not alone in our suffering. Our situation is not unique. Others have faced the kind of hardship or suffering we are experiencing. Throughout the world today fellow believers are suffering for their faith and we can have the resolve to continue to stand firm in ours. For instance, our suffering here is anemic compared with the suffering of believers in Muslim countries, India and other parts of the globe. We think experiencing shame for being a xian is being ostracized from a popular peer group. That is something we may have to deal with. But compared to the shame of being ostracized from your family or having your life constantly threatened, we can find the strength to endure our trials and not be overcome by the schemes of the devil. Resisting simply refers to our refusal to submit to him. I will not cave into attitudes or actions contrary to Gods Word. I will stand firm on the truth with the knowledge that many others have done the same too.
3. GOD WILL USE SATANS OPPOSITION TO DEVELOP OUR SPIRITUAL CHARACTER 5:10-11
- The reality is that our suffering is only for awhile. In other words, while Satan attempts to destroy our faith in God, God determines to use the opposition to further His purposes and strengthen our spiritual character. The very trials which may appear to be the means Satan employs for our destruction are the means God employs for our deliverance and development. Behind the undeserved suffering as a believer stands Satan wanting to devour us, and behind Satan stands God, sure to perfect and purify us. No wonder Peter writes in Vs 11 ‘to him belongs the power forever’.
- You will be unjustly treated because of your faith in Christ. When you dare to stand true to Christ in your life and relationships, you are inviting hardship. God says when that happens, do not buckle underneath the pain because it is only temporary. Your suffering in Christ will last only a little while your glory in Christ to which you are called will be eternal! Let God establish your faith by the persecution you experience as you stand for Christ in your life. Do not compromise or cave into the temptations all around you!
Satan is not equal to God. He does not possess the attributes of God and is inferior to God.
2. Satan focuses his attention on religion. He will do anything to divert people from the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation and living a godly life.
3. Satan does not make us do anything. We are carried away and enticed by our own lusts James 1. Satan can tempt us through the world but is not responsible for our sin.
4. Satan is formidable but can be defeated. We can resist him and he will flee from us James tells us. 1 John 4:4 ‘greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.’