By John Cox – Originally published in Our Journey by Walk in the Word
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. -I Peter 5: 8-10
Have you ever noticed that the greatest spiritual battles happen after the greatest spiritual successes? On Sunday we can be rejoicing in the presence of God and standing firm in the faith, but Monday we are an all-you-can-eat buffet for the devil. Why is that? Because we live in the joy that the war is over, but forget the battle is raging on. The moment we believe our life to be untouchable by the world and “sleep on our watch,” we let our guard down and become dinner for the devil.
So what is the battle strategy? We must preemptively strike. This is a spiritual strike on a potential spiritual threat before it materializes in your life. We know that temptation will come, and the enemy will strike when we fall, so we strike first with righteous living, so a potential evil threat cannot cripple us. For when it attacks, it finds a soul that is living in the strength of the power of Christ and unwilling to sacrifice the joy of the Lord for the lies of the world.
Peter calls us to be “sober-minded and watchful.” To be sober-minded is to not be drunk with the world, but to drink the “living water” of the Word. It keeps us alert, focused, and ready to act, knowing an attack on our soul is just a sin away. The second preemptive strike is to be watchful. This means we have to be honest with ourselves and expose the shameful temptations that plague us, and set up an attack plan. This is done by arming yourself with specific Scripture and prayer so when the temptation arises it finds its evil power useless against one “firm in the faith.”
When we live in honest awareness of the sin that most tempts us and know the enemy will never stop prowling for us, we are able to preemptively strike by living in the truth that defends us and in the barricade that protects us; Christ. We must choose to live more in the joy of the victory of the war than to live in the defeat of a battle, so we will never again be blindsided because we are striking before the battle even begins.
- When am I most open to spiritual attack?
- What temptation most plagues me and what Scriptures can I use to strike with before I am stricken?
Father, I know that I am failing You when I am not ready for battle. I confess times when I leave Your peace to drink of the world. Lord, reveal to me those times when I am most vulnerable and give me the courage to strike with Your word before the temptation even arises. I choose to live more in the joy of the victory of the war than to live in the defeat of a battle. Thank you for winning the war at the cross and giving me the Word to protect me all the days of my life. Amen