I Peter 5:6-9
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Peter knows firsthand that the devil is on a mission to destroy us. He himself was caught off guard and wound up falling into temptation into the devil’s trap. After Jesus was arrested, Peter isolated himself in the shadows, something Satan was thrilled about. For when Peter was asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, the newly arrested, soon to be crucified, self-proclaimed Messiah, Peter said he didn’t even know him.
I’ll bet he replayed that scene over and over in his mind. I’ll bet he wished he could rewind those moments and give a different answer. Caught off guard, he caved. Praise God he was reinstated and recommissioned for ministry by Jesus. As a result, Peter learned that he could never go on auto pilot. He became alert, on his guard, on his game and did what was needed from that point on to defend his territory and resist the attacks of the devil who is also roaming, seeking who he may devour.
How can Satan devour a person? How can we make sure we don’t become lunchmeat for our enemy? How can we starve the devil? Turn to your neighbor and say, “Don’t’ be lunchmeat.” I believe this passage from I Peter gives us at least three ideas.
First, we need to DECLUTTER our lives.
Verse 6 says that we need to humble ourselves. The sin of pride is so deceptive. You have to really be on your game to see it creeping into your life.
I once heard a story about an Amish farmer who bought a new pair of overalls. Of course, the Amish are famous for their simplicity, and trying to avoid pride. As he put on his new overalls and looked in the mirror, he said, “Oh, this will never do! I’ll be proud in these!” So he removed the new overalls and put on the patched, worn, and dirty ones. He stood again in front of the mirror and said, “Ah, you’d look good in anything!” The sin of pride can be so deceitful, that you can be proud that you’re not proud.
We need to get rid of pride in our lives. Pride comes before a fall. Walk in pride and you’re walking into a trap. Satan wants to clutter our lives with pride because he knows that
a. Pride keeps us from confessing sin.
Have you ever been confronted about a sin that you committed and you quickly went into a song and dance to defend why you did what you did, trying to justify whatever it was? Sometimes because of our pride it’s hard to admit we’ve sinned. Pride makes us point our fingers at everyone else but ourselves. It’s always someone else’s fault. If Satan can appeal to our flesh and get us to be prideful, he knows he can eventually keep us from the forgiveness of God. If we haven’t humbled ourselves before Christ and admitted we are sinners, Satan is devouring us right now.
b. Pride is an obstacle to our faith in Jesus.
Pride keeps us believing in our own resources-our house, money, status, career, etc. If we allow pride to rule our heart, we will feel the need to match a certain status quo in society. It’s called the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. The problem with that attitude is that it is easy for our hearts to become hard to God’s purposes for our lives and for our financial resources and it can lead to a hardening of our hearts towards God. I believe that was part of the downfall of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Pride keeps us from giving Jesus total control of our lives and resources.
c. Pride makes us self-sufficient and self-righteous.
Have you ever known someone who is so proud they won’t ask for help or advice, even if they really need the help! “No man is an island.” We all need help. None of us has all the answers. Self-righteousness is dangerous. It leads to sin. It causes us to be hateful and bitter towards others and keeps us from wanting to learn anything from God for our life. People who are self sufficient and self righteous have in essence made themselves into their god. They are on the throne of their lives.
d. Pride is an ingredient in every argument.
Why do we fuss, fight, quarrel, and always have to be right? Pride turns us into defensive people, doesn’t it? Pride keeps us protected where no one can come in and tell us what to do or how to live or how to behave – we already know all this stuff, right? “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10
We need to declutter our lives by getting rid of pride. We also need to declutter our lives by casting our cares on Christ. I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
I think we would all agree that difficulties are a part of life. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, physical labor, pain, the difficulty of dealing with death-it all came to the human experience. But what Satan wants to do is to add to these already tough, expected consequences, by adding the hurt and emotional pain that cause these circumstances to not just be a life experience, but that causes them to be a defeating or paralyzing experience.
While we can pray for our circumstances to change and God often grants those requests, He also often responds by lifting the emotional weight of those cares or by healing the wounded places caused by those cares which enables us to continue to endure without being paralyzed, defeated, and crushed.
Casting our cares on Christ may mean that we look to him for grace and strength, and feel assured that he will enable us to get through all that is laid upon us. The relief in these cases will be as real as if he took the burden and bore it himself. He will enable us to bear with ease what we supposed we could never have done; and the burden which he lays upon us will be light, Matthew 11:30.
Prayer is the Christian’s method for casting our cares on Christ. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7.
The person who is literally going through hell on earth who has a peace and lighthearted attitude, who still has joy and confidence, that is a person who has learned to cast their cares upon Christ through prayer and has received a supernatural ability to walk in victory even while carrying a great burden. It’s like an astronaut who is wearing a heavy suit and carrying a heavy backpack. Even though he or she has all of that gear on, once they get to outer space, they are experience a weightlessness that comes from being in a different atmosphere. Casting our cares on Christ through prayer puts us into a different atmosphere. Even though we are carrying the same load, the same baggage, the same burden, we experience a weightlessness, a change in the impact of the burden on our lives that comes from casting our cares on Christ through prayer.
Ephesians 4:27 says “Don’t give the devil a foothold.” When we walk around in pride we are walking into the devil’s trap. When we are walking around holding on to wounds and emotional pains that we won’t let Christ heal or give us strength to carry, we are walking into the devil’s trap.
Don’t give the devil a foothold. Where is a trap designed to close in on us? If we give the devil a foot, watch what happens. Pastor Honey, would you come up here? Help me demonstrate what happens when we give the devil a foothold. (Thom takes my foot and begins to move it, knocking me off balance until I eventually fall to the floor.) Now that I’ve given him a foothold, (Thom pins me entirely to the floor) he has a stronghold on my life. I can’t go anywhere I want to go or anywhere God wants me to go. Footholds quickly can become strongholds.
A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the front door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead skunk, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
“If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.”
Starve the devil by decluttering your life. Get rid of pride and cast your cares on Jesus.
There are other things that can clutter the life of a Christian. I’ll just mention them and then move on. The heartache and pains of life can lead to unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness and they can be an open door for Satan. Behaviors like viewing pornography, dabbling in the occult with ouija boards, tarot cards, horoscopes, séances can give Satan an inroad. Lying, cheating, anger, and a lack of accountability can make you vulnerable to Satan. Anything that has potential to keep you from being sober and alert like drugs and excessive use of alcohol, can also lead to the devil getting a foothold in your life.
Declutter and then be alert so that you can DETECT the devil when he is roaming and roaring by.
I Peter says we have to be alert because the devil is always on the prowl, always plotting to trap us. Respect him—he is dangerous. Since I have no mechanical ability, I admire people who can build and repair things. During a church building program, a pastor was watching an electrician install a complex control panel, and he said to the man, “It just amazes me how you fellows can calmly work on those lines with all of that power there. How do you do it?” The electrician smiled and said, “Well, the first thing you have to do is respect it. Then you can handle it.”
Satan is a dangerous enemy. Respect his power. He has at least three tactics that we need to aware of:
a. He’s a great perjurer.-Lying Serpent. He is the subtle serpent. Just like with Eve
in the garden, he tries to pervert our judgment, enchant our imagination and get us focused on our senses in the here and now. He wants us to focus on what would feel good in the moment. That’s why you are supposed to be sober or clear minded. Don’t let the devil crowd your mind with fanciful thoughts about the grass being greener on the other side or on satisfying the immediate desires of the flesh.
b. He’s a great predator.-Roaring Lion. As a roaring lion, he roars at us, trying to
scare us, trying to violently oppose us to keep us cowered in fear so that we won’t follow God in victory.
Lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. Lions prowl quietly, watching and waiting, suddenly pouncing when their victims least suspect it.
Remember I Peter 5:9 told us that people everywhere are struggling. One of the tactics of Satan is to get you to feel alone, like you are the only one who is hurting, that no one has it as bad as you do. He wants to get you to isolate yourself and cut yourself off from God’s family. It’s tempting, isn’t it? When life is tough or you are embarrassed or upset about something, skipping church seems like a great option. The problem is when believers feel alone, weak, helpless, and cut themselves off from other believers, they can become so focused on their troubles that they forget to watch for danger.
In Africa, lions will lay out watching herds. Lions know their own strength, but they also know the strength of numbers. When a lion looks at a herd of zebras, he knows if he attacks one and the herd stampedes, they would trample him. When he sees one remove himself and independently feed away from the herd, he knows he will be eating soon. When that zebra gets far enough away from the pack, the lion pounces, pulls it into the tall grass, goes for the jugular, and has begun eating the meat, before the herd even knew what happened.
There’s safety in numbers. Don’t skip church. Don’t pull back. Don’t try to hide that you are hurting. If anything, ramp your connection up to God’s people. Get closer to the pack. The lion is looking for those who are alone.
c. He’s a great pretender.-Angel of Light. II Cor. 11:14 says, He is an angel of light.
He can’t create anything so he has to counterfeit everything. Of course he is called a roaring lion. He has to try to counterfeit the victorious presence of Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He tries to deceive us with a false view of spiritual things. For example, he might urge us to sin because after all, grace is great and forgiveness is “easy” to obtain. Don’t fall for any of it.
In order to starve the devil, you need to declutter your life, detect his tactics and then Defeat him in God’s power.
Resist-Have a blanket on stage and go hide under it. Explain that resistance means standing against, not hiding from.
Listen, we aren’t called to run and hide. We don’t protect ourselves by retreating. We are to come to the battle line and stand there and fight. James wrote that if the believers resisted the Devil, he would flee from them (James 4:7). Resistance isn’t passive. Standing firm in the faith means using everything God has given us. It doesn’t take faith to run and hide. It takes faith to fight because if I am willing to get into the battle, it means I believe I can win it (START VIDEO) once I get in it.
Watch this-Battle: Armor of God video
Our weapons are the Word of God and prayer (Eph. 6:17-18) and our protection is the complete armor God has provided. We resist him “in the faith,” that is, our faith in God. Just as David took his stand against Goliath, and trusted in the name of Jehovah, so we take our stand against Satan in the victorious name of Jesus Christ. Did you notice that the armor of God from Ephesians 6? There’s a helmet of salvation, a shield of faith, shoes of peace, a sword of the spirit, and a belt of truth, but there is nothing to go over your back because you aren’t ever supposed to run from the devil. Don’t turn your back on the devil. Resist him in faith, with the Word of God and every piece of armor God has given to you.
A word of caution here: never discuss things with Satan or his associates. Don’t start talking to the devil. Anything you say to the devil needs to be a one-sided conversation. Eve made the mistake of shooting the breeze with the devil, and we all know the sad consequences. You talk to him with one sentence, “I take authority over you in the name of Jesus and through his blood.” And you never respond to anything he has to say.
Also, never try to fight Satan in your own way. Resist him the way Jesus did, with the Word of God (Matt. 4:1-11).
In Luke 22:31, Jesus told Peter Satan was after him. He said, “Before the rooster crowds, Peter, you’re going to deny even knowing me three times.” To which the arrogant Peter replied, “33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Do you hear the arrogance? I won’t. Everyone else will, but I won’t. Right there, Peter’s inflated ego is on display. He had elevated himself above the possibility that he could fail. Boy that’s when Satan gets a foothold. When we think something can’t happen to us, we’re not guarding against its possibility.
Had Peter been sober and alert the night Jesus was arrested, he would not have gone to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, attacked Malchus with his sword and cut off his ear, or denied the Lord. He did not take the Lord’s warning seriously; in fact, he argued with Him! Nor did he recognize Satan when the adversary inflated his ego with pride, told him he did not have to “watch and pray,” and then incited him to use his sword. Had Peter listened to the Lord and resisted the enemy, he would have escaped all those failures. Peter’s words of warning in I Peter basically scream, “Don’t do what I did. Satan is after all of us, and we can’t ever think we’re above falling into one of his traps.”
Both Peter and James give us the same formula for success: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Before we can stand before Satan, we must bow before God. Peter resisted the Lord and ended up submitting to Satan!
One of your greatest weapons for resisting the devil is prayer. Interesting that it is also that which gives you greatest access to God’s peace, power, and forgiveness. Why not exercise the humility I Peter says we need and declutter your life this morning. Why not come to an altar of prayer this morning and ask God to show you any area of your life that has gotten off track or that has opened a door for Satan to be able to gain a foothold. Maybe you want to come this morning and ask God to help you be more aware of where the enemy is trying to gain a foothold in your life. Maybe you realize you’ve been trying to hide from the enemy and in doing so, you have become unavailable for God to use or do anything special through. It’s time to put the devil in his place and come out of hiding. If you don’t belong to Christ, this morning, I’m warning you, you are lunchmeat for the devil. Whether you think you are the captain of your own destiny or not, Satan has access to your life and is putting obstacles in your way that are keeping you from salvation and God’s best for your life. The first step to victory of the enemy is full submission to Christ. Will you give him your life today? Will you join me this morning in starving the devil?