Posts Tagged 1 Peter 5: 8

Armored Prayer

Ephesians 6: 18

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

This week and last we looked at the armor of God as listed in Ephesians 6: 10 – 17. I thought you might be curious to know that upon concluding his list of the armor the very next words Paul wrote were encouragement for us to pray at all times. Could it be that the two thoughts are connected? I believe they are.

First, we are instructed to put on the armor of God, but having donned the armor Paul teaches us to enter into prayer as if the two are related. If you are in spiritual warfare, prayer is probably well advised. Paul says to pray at all times IN the Spirit. What does that mean to you? There would seem to be an insinuation that we connect with the Holy Spirit in this prayer. This prescribed prayer is not a barrage of words from our minds leveled at the gates of heaven. No, there is something entirely different going on here. Remember that Paul’s letter was advice as to how to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6: 11). Paul is continuing to teach how to overcome the devil’s attacks. So, when the devil attempts to bring trouble into our lives, we are advised to first put on the armor of God and then secondly, to open up the prayer chest and begin to pour out Holy Spirit inspired prayers.

When we pray with the Spirit, he gives direction to our prayers. This becomes much more than only praying our thoughts. We connect with God, since the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God head. Hence we pray to God through God. As we allow the Spirit to guide our prayers, we pray exactly what God knows we need to pray. The Spirit gives voice to our prayers so that we pray as we should. Isn’t that exciting?

Paul doesn’t even stop there, though. “While you are praying,” he says, “be on the alert.” Isn’t that what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour” (NOG). Paul doesn’t end this thought there though. He goes on to entreat us to pray with perseverance for all the saints. You see, the person whom the devil finds who can be devoured probably isn’t you because you have on your armor and are standing firm. Therefore, prayers should be made for all the saints. Satan is on the hunt for some unsuspecting, vulnerable person who he can take advantage of. We have the power and the authority to pray for all those who may be vulnerable to attack.

This is so typical of how God sees the world. First, He meets our needs. Then, with our new found truth and growth, He employs us to help others. As those people learn and mature in spiritual matters, they reach yet more people. When we all do our little part, the multiplication process can, quite literally, reach around the globe. So, it begins with our realizing truth in our own battles against the powers and principalities of this world. As we increasingly attire ourselves in Jesus’ victory, we stand firm in his word praying for others. That is the paradigm, get free and then help someone else to get free. The Holy Spirit is here to guide our steps and our prayers. Let’s put on our armor and get down to business.

Covered

Ephesians 6: 17

Take the helmet of salvation.

Paul wrote this passage under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is no accident that he made salvation a helmet; no accident that salvation is at the head. I imagine this salvation, which is at the top of the armor as well as the upper most part of us, as a covering. Though I see a helmet in my mind’s eye, I also understand that the covering flows down from the helmet of salvation to cover our entire bodies, right down to our shoes. The helmet is more than a hat. It is a complete covering. It caps off the armor and it is appropriate that it would be saved to the last for that reason.

Let us look at the simple ideas here. If a soldier determines to eliminate an enemy, he is likely to target either the heart or the head. The heart is protected by the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus which we wear as a breastplate. Our brain is the one vital organ which is not covered by righteousness. It is contained in the cranium and protected by salvation. That is an interesting construction.

What is salvation? Most of us think as salvation as our rescue from a hell sentence, a condemnation to eternity in the lost realms of Hades. That is good stuff, important awareness. However, it only just begins to embrace the idea of salvation as Jesus knows it. When Jesus speaks of salvation he refers to saving grace in every aspect of life. Salvation embraces the fullness of life. This fullness of salvation is what protects our brains. In other words, salvation in your family relationships, salvation in your finances, salvation in your physical self, saved in your occupational life, and in every single aspect of life is what Jesus has capped us with.

Salvation means the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc., the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc. The helmet is protecting us from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc. Jesus said the devil comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10: 10). We are also told that he is a devourer (1 Peter 5: 8). So, the helmet of salvation protects our minds, our thought process from that which would destroy us. If the enemy can get to our minds, he can destroy our lives. Jesus has provided though. All we have to do is to put on salvation like a helmet. We have to put on the complete helmet though. Don’t leave off the salvation in your finances leaving part of your head exposed. As we embrace the fullness of Jesus’ definition of salvation, our heads, brains and thoughts will be protected in each of those areas and salvation will be the helmet or our lives. It will protect and guard us. Salvation will cover us from the top down.

Armored

Ephesians 6: 10 – 13

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

This passage of scripture is one of the foundational scriptures regarding spiritual warfare. Peter warned us to not be unaware of our enemy, “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour “(1 Peter 5: 8 CSB). Peter identifies our enemy as the devil as he informs us that the devil is searching for someone he can devour. The New Living Translation says that he prowls around like “a hungry lion with his mouth open” seeking someone to eat.

There are some revelations you can take from 1 Peter 5: 8. Clearly, not everyone is one whom the devil can devour. That is why he must roam around in search of someone who is vulnerable. That need not be you. You have armor to protect you.

So, where do you think the armor came from? Who forged it? Who provided it? Is this not the raiment purchased by Jesus at the cross? This answers the troubling question confronting spiritual warfare. If Jesus was victorious over the devil, why must we still engage in spiritual warfare? Jesus won the armor and forged it in the bowels of hell when he went to Hades and defeated the devil. You can be and are victorious in Christ but we are not victors in our own might and we are unwise if we try to fight the devil in our strength. This passage does not teach us to fight the devil ourselves. Look again at verse 10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” We are strong in the strength of the Lord and in him only. The battle is won when we stand firm in the strength of the Lord.

This is so important to understand. Yes, there is still an enemy. Peter warns us in this regard. “Don’t be foolish,” he might say, “be alert and aware that your enemy is the devil and that he is on the prowl, he seeks his prey.” We must be vigilant, as the King James Bible says. There is an enemy and we must still stand up to him today. He will eat your lunch if you let him but the key is that Jesus has fashioned armor of his victory which will allow you to stand firm against all of the schemes of the devil (v. 11). Understanding this nuance is the key to success in spiritual warfare. Fear not. Have no fear of the devil. Jesus has provided.

This week, I will show you just what Jesus created for you and how you may don the armor of his victory. I will explain just how you are well able to stand against the enemy without trepidation. You will not quaver but will be strong in the might of the Lord. You will understand, at a deeper level, just how strong you are in the power of Jesus’ might and you will never again fear the devil nor his bite. You are the victorious heir of Jesus’ defeat over Satan and all his little minions. The truth will set you free, so prepare yourself to shout in exultation as we discover your victory in Jesus.

Name of Shame

Mathew 16: 23

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

This is an interesting passage. Jesus had just blessed Peter because Peter, in listening to the voice of God within him, received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ. Then just a couple of verses later, Jesus called him Satan. Why did he do so and what did he mean by it?

As you know, Satan was once known as Lucifer. He was the beautiful angel and his name reflected how he shone like the morning sun. Unfortunately, his beauty went to his head and he led a revolution against God. He was cast out of heaven and his name was changed to Satan.

In Hebrew, a name is not just a name. A person’s name reflects his, or her, essential character. You will have noticed many people whose names were changed, the most obvious being Peter and Paul. When Satan was cast down, he was no longer the bright, shining, beautiful angel he once was. His character overcame his appearance and his new name reflects this character. The name Satan means to be against. Some other words found in the Strong’s Concordance are: to lurk, persecute, oppose self against, to attack, accuse, to be an adversary, resist. Satan is further described by Strong as the arch enemy of good, an opponent. All these words describe Satan’s character and actions. Some are recognizable from other scriptures as in Revelation 12: 10 where he is called the accuser of the brethren. Peter warned that Satan is our adversary (1 Peter 5: 8).

So why would Jesus call Peter by this less than favorable title? Peter meant to be a blessing to Jesus but in rebuking him, Jesus said, “You are standing against me and against my purposes.” Peter would have known the meaning behind the word “satan.” Being Jewish, he understood that Jesus wasn’t renaming him but rather showing him that his ideas opposed Jesus’ purpose. Peter didn’t understand the big picture at that time and he was not on the same page with God’s interests.

Satan opposes everything about God. It is another way we know that God is good because Satan opposes everything that is good. His entire desire is to stand against anything that is Godly. He is never in agreement with God at any moment. There is no darkness in light for when the light comes, the darkness flees. There is no light in darkness. These two stand as polar opposites. Where there is opposition to God’s design, there is satanic influence, meaning against and opposing God’s plan. Peter temporarily stood against God’s plan and Jesus called him on it. Jesus showed him the way and Peter chose to follow Jesus. That is what we must all do. Choose to align yourself with God’s plan even when it does not make sense to your reasoning mind. In the end, you will see the wisdom of God’s design and you will be glad you chose “the way.”

Fear Not

2 Corinthians 2: 11                     God’s Word

I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

Or are we? That is, are we ignorant about his scheming? I want to talk about Satan today. This is not to elevate him but rather to edify you.

The Apostle Peter said that Satan is “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” and he warned us to “be of sober spirit, be on the alert” because our adversary, the devil is prowling around looking for prey (1 Peter 5: 8). Is this a scary thought? I have really been around the block on this. I used to shudder when people talked about demons and the devil. I did not want to be involved in that discussion so I ignored it, but to fail to have this discussion is to give Satan and his cohorts a free pass.

I am reminded of playing peek-a-boo with small children. When they cover their eyes, you really do cease to exist. We have tried to do the same thing with Satan. Our internal mechanism has operated to remove him from our presence by closing our eyes to his existence and/or his operation in the earth. I have noticed and increase in the avoidance of the subject of the devil and great discomfort when reference to him comes up. I even had one person tell me that there is no such thing as evil. Are you kidding me? Have you looked at the world recently? How can anyone believe there is no such thing as evil?

The truth is that this topic makes us uncomfortable. The other part of the truth is that we are afraid. Oh sure, not many of us will admit it and in truth, we may not even realize that we are being driven by fear. I want to tell you, though, that you have nothing to fear. Christ, our own beloved, is far bigger than Satan and has already defeated him. So fear not. However, be ignorant neither. We are not ostriches. There is no gain by sticking our heads in the sand and pretending there is no enemy. Your defenses are not strengthened by making believe there is no ravenous beast roaming the earth seeking those whom he may devour. We are no longer children, we don’t need to play make believe. There is a devil out there but we have the ability to deal with his schemes. That is why he must roam around seeking whom he may devour. Not everyone makes a good target for him because they are, as Peter advised, on the alert.

You will note that today I used the God’s Word translation for the verse. The New American Standard shows us that Paul’s teaching is relevant “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” Paul, in writing to believers in Corinth, did not want them to be ignorant and their ignorance pave the way for Satan to take advantage of them. The wise thing we can, and should do, is to be aware of our enemy, learn where and how he has influence and understand what Jesus did for us so that we do not needlessly become victims of Satan’s schemes. You have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid to accept that there is a devil in this world doing his best to upset God’s perfect plan but don’t think that you are a defenseless lamb. Far from it. Christ has laid the sword of Satan’s defeat at your feet. The defeat is already embedded in the sword. We only need to realize there is an enemy and then stoop down and lift the sword and let the gleam of Christ’s victory shine in the mirrored reflection of his glory. Oh glory, Jesus has won; he has overcome. Now it is your turn.

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Power and Might

Daniel 11: 32

And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know God will display strength and take action.

God is not raising up a generation of weaklings. He has called us in strength and in the glory of his dear son. There will come those who will lead the weak spirited away. He will trick them by the eloquence of his speech but those who know the Word of God will recognize the lies. 

Jesus was tried by the tempter (See Matthew 4: 1 – 11). He tried to trick Jesus too but Jesus knew the Word. He could not be led astray. He defeated the devil’s scheme’s then and ever since. We learn from Daniel that because we are called according to Jesus’ victory, we too can display strength and we can take action.

Do not be fooled by those who come to you in smoothness of speech. Check their fruit. Are they demonstrating Galatians 5: 22 fruit? If not, step away. You are not required to be friends with everyone; you are only required to love them. Secondly, prepare yourself now for the trickster. We already know he is waiting like a prowling lion, just looking for someone he can devour (1 Peter 5: 8). Feed on the Word daily so that you will recognize truth from the lie and can protect yourself and your family. Adam and Eve didn’t abide in the Word and they were deceived. Look where that brought us all.

Be strong in the might of the Lord and in the power of His Word.

The Prowling Lion

1 Peter 5: 8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

You have an adversary and he is named here. Do not be uninformed. There is an enemy out there and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10: 10). He will devour as many as will let him. Someone told me once that she did not believe there was any such thing as “evil” in the world. Well, she is susceptible to all of the snares of the wily one because she does not even acknowledge that there is an adversary. He can run around her life unchallenged. He can sneak around and plot all he wants because there is no lookout. I would rather trust the Apostle Peter’s knowledge and have my defenses built against foes. Be on your guard, be alert. Know that there is an enemy; prepare yourself by spending time in the word and with your heavenly father so that your defenses will be too much for the enemy. He will pass you by for easier targets because you are built up in your most holy faith (Jude 1: 20).

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