Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.
—1 Peter 5:8–9
Sometimes we unintentionally give the wrong impression about spiritual warfare. We know that our enemy is the devil and that we must fight daily to win, but that’s not everything. If the Christian life were nothing but battles, it would be discouraging to fight every hour of every day.
I would feel that I could never relax because as soon as I did, Satan would sneak back again. That’s not the picture I want to present. The Christian life is one of joy and peace. God gives us a great sense of fulfillment, and we’re at rest because we know we honor Him by the way we live.
Peter wrote to Christians about their enemy—warning them and urging them to be vigilant, which is where we often put the emphasis. Just before he wrote those words, however, he said, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (v. 7). As we read that verse, it tells us that we must remind ourselves of God’s love for us—God cares. Because God cares, we can trust Him to take care of us.
We need that as part of our foundation. It’s not that we don’t have faith; it’s that Satan tries to destroy our faith with lies like: “If God really cared about you, would He make you go through this trial?” “If God truly loved you, would He treat you this way?”
Those questions that the devil throws at you are full of lies. If he can make you think you’re not loved or that God doesn’t have your best interests at heart, he can plant tiny seeds of unbelief. God wants you to remain strong and true like Abraham and other believers in the Bible.
One of the things I’ve learned from ministering to thousands of people is that the terrible and negative problems striking our lives are not what cause us to turn away from God. No, it’s our reaction to those situations that makes the difference. Think of Abraham again. When God promised to give him a son, he was an old man. He could have said, “How could that possibly be? I’m old and long past being able to father a child.” Instead, he said, “That’s wonderful! I believe.”
When struggles, trials, and hardships come your way—and they always do—you have a choice. You can heed Peter’s words and give God your cares, worries, and concerns. No matter how dark the night or how evil the situation, you must remind yourself that God is not only present with you in those situations, but He also loves you and will provide for you.
Your job is to be vigilant during those difficult times. You can rejoice in God’s love and blessings when all is going well—and that’s what God wants you to do. But in the dark moments, you need to remind yourself that the devil stalks you and wants to defeat you.
One more thing. Sometimes you may wonder why you have so many trials and problems. Is it possible that the devil may have singled you out because of God’s great plan for your life? The more faithful you are, the more you have to resist him and his lies of unbelief.
Dear heavenly Father, the enemy often tries to fill me with unbelief and make me deny Your powerful love for me. But like Abraham, I stand firm on Your promises. Thank You for the comfort I find in Your assurance that You’re always with me. Amen.
by Joyce Meyer