1Pe 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
We often think of being sober as the opposite of being drunk. It also carries the notion of being discreet. Discretion is defined as “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.” We, as Christians, should exercise discretion because we have an accuser in this world who loves to take private information and use it to devour us.
Our adversary is taking every occasion to use the words and actions of God’s people to stir up discord and anger all around us. Every day, we see and hear people pointing a finger at this person or group and accusing them of being the root of hate or racism or violence. The simple truth is we have lost all discretion. We are not sober in our speech or actions, and the devil is making good use of it. He walks about, constantly stirring the pot until he consumes us. Instead of being separate from the world and speaking only that which is becoming of Christians, we are just as engaged in causing offense as the rest of the world. We use the constitutional right to free speech as an excuse to say whatever we please, whenever we please. While this may be our constitutional right, the question we need to ask ourselves is whether it is godly. Because I have the right to do a thing does not mean that I should do it. Paul addressed this very principle when he said “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not (1Cor 10:23).” If our speech is not edifying, then we need to be quiet.
In addition to being discreet, we are told to be vigilant (watch). Again, watch can mean to simply look at something, but in this instance it refers to always being on guard. We are to be on guard for the same reason we are to be discreet. Our adversary the devil, this spirit of evil (worthless) communication, is constantly looking for those of us who let our guard down. He takes that opportunity to pick at some indiscretion until it has become a major stumbling block in our lives. It takes our eyes off Jesus, and we become focused on the world. And then, like Peter did, we begin to sink. Our instruction to avoid this is 1) be sober (discreet), 2) be vigilant (watch), and 3) resist (oppose).
We are to always be in opposition to the devil, but never in our own conceits. Our ability to resist the devil in all his devices is to be stedfast in the faith. We are to be strong and solid (steadfast) in our dependence on Christ for deliverance (faith). I am not advocating that we sit and do nothing or say nothing when we witness injustice in the world. I am saying that we need to rely on Jesus for our answer and our actions. In this, we are coming very short. We fall back on rhetoric, political manipulation, and finger-pointing, and our adversary is swallowing us up as a result.
Sometimes we develop an attitude of “I’m the only one trying to do right. What can I do that would possibly make a difference?” When we fall into this trap, we are not being stedfast. The counsel in verse nine assures us that we are not alone when we stand for what is right according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, which reveals to us the Way. We have brothers and sisters all over the world who are enduring the same struggles against the adversary. Only in a stedfast conviction that Jesus is our deliverer will we overcome our adversary. The adversary is tireless; he is always walking about. Likewise, our trust in Jesus must be tireless, knowing that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world!
May we learn today to be discreet, ever on our guard, and to oppose our adversary through our unshakeable trust in a living and present Jesus!