Google+ 10/30/12 Grace will Abound!

1 Peter 5: 8-11

 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,

Seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith,

Knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,

after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  

To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

 

The scripture is full of great instruction and our passage today is another great example of the Bible's teaching and warning.  1 Peter 5 is being addressed to "the elders" or better described here as the men who ruled the church.  Two Greek words are used here;  "Presbuterous" meaning elder and "Episkopos" meaning bishop.  In most Protestant Church government discussions, this would be translated as pastor, minister, elder, or bishop.  Regardless of who wrote 1st Peter (there are many theologians who do not believe this book to actually be written by Peter), the instruction and warning is clear.  The wording is worth taking some time to digest.  Be sober, be vigilant.  In other words, be intent on what you are doing.  The reason is that our enemy, the devil, is ready to devour you at every moment and the analogy used here is like a roaring lion.  This is a fact we as Christians seem to ignore most days.  While the Triune God stands ready to defend and strengthen us with love, grace, and mercy, our enemy is ready to devour us.  Satan is not a guy who shows up in a read suit with horns and a pitchfork that we recognize immediately.  Most often the devil tries to disguise himself with his "God mask".  It wishes to confuse us and if we are not sober and vigilant, he will.  Don't wake up without this thought on your mind.  Don't ignore it.  Most of all, don't act surprised "Satan happens"!  It happened to me all day yesterday getting ready for a major event for God this weekend.  Everywhere I turned yesterday, the devil was ready to devour me.  Remember we are weak without God.  I know I am and God reminded me of that fact yesterday.  The scripture goes on to remind us that all committed Christians living productively for the Lord are experiencing the same sufferings.  I tell people that God leads to Christ through me (we don't save anyone, God does) that when they make a public declaration for Christ most often their lives will get harder.  Yes, I said harder.  The scripture above points out why.   One of the things I love about the Bible is every warning is accompanied by great news.  This passage is a great example, but read the words carefully.  Through God's grace, we can be perfected, established, strengthened, and settled.  What a comforting and loving thought!  Did you notice something though?  God will do that via this prayer after we have "suffered awhile".  As I wrote in my book, "Building the Family of God" (available December 2012), most of the life lessons I have learned have been during times of trials.  God uses the events in our lives to point us in the right direction while we are in a mood to listen.  Often when things are going very well, we have trouble listening to God.  Heed the warning and enjoy the reward...Be sober, be vigilant, watch out for the enemy who wishes to devour you and after you have suffered awhile, God's grace will abound!