â€œBe sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.â€ Â Â Â (1 Peter 5:8)
This grave warning concerning the devil was given not only to young Christians, easily subject to temptations, but also to â€œthe elders which are among youâ€ (v. 1). It often seems, in fact, that Satanâ€™s greatest victories are won when he can cause the fall of a Christian leader, thereby not only destroying that leaderâ€™s influence for Christ, but also giving â€œgreat occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blasphemeâ€ (2 Samuel 12:14). The devil is a roaring lion, but he doesnâ€™t come as such. If he did, the intended victim would flee.
He is, above all, the one â€œwhich deceiveth the whole worldâ€ (Revelation 12:9), â€œtransformed into an angel of lightâ€ (2Â Corinthians 11:14). As he did with Mother Eve, the â€œsubtleâ€ one will insidiously appeal to our pride, or our aesthetic sense, or our appetite, or our desire for material things.
Peter could speak from bitter experience. Satan had desired to â€œsift you as wheat,â€ Jesus had told him, but he foolishly boasted that he would stand true (Luke 22:31-34).
No wonder Peter could warn with such urgency: â€œBe sober, be vigilant.â€ Note particularly that, in the context, he is especially warning against greed (1 Peter 5:2) and pride (vv. 5-6). We must not allow Satan to â€œget an advantage of us,â€ Paul says, â€œfor we are not ignorant of his devicesâ€ (2 Corinthians 2:11). Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, we need never fall to his tempting if we simplyâ€”along with staying sober and vigilantâ€”â€œsubmit [ourselves] therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from youâ€ (James 4:7). HMM