I had to laugh at a little video I saw, probably shared by someone on Facebook. It was titled, “The difference between men and women when shopping.” A lioness was featured in the first 95% of the video, pictured crouching just feet away from a herd of hundreds of wildebeests running past her, unable to decide where to pounce with so many choices. And suddenly a male lion comes rushing in from out of sight, instantly grabs a beast and drags it away.
In today’s passage we read about a lion, speaking of course of the Devil. We should see this lion as sort of in between the two pictured above. This is a lion that crouches and watches for vulnerability, not so much to just randomly strike out. But he is going to strike wherever possible. Peter says …
5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. 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 the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
5:10 – And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Let me speak about three ways that you are not alone as a Christian.
First, you are not alone without an enemy that lurks nearby. Though we will see this is not something to be paranoid or terrified about, it is something about which to be alert and sober-minded. Christians tend to underestimate the hatred of the Evil One for those who are a part of God’s family. He is not ambivalent; he despises God’s people … like you and me. He longs for our destruction as an effective witness for the cause of Christ. With his opportunist character, we need to be aware of his techniques to disqualify us wherever possible.
Secondly, you are not alone in any unique way when facing this challenge. Peter told these early Christians that others in God’s family around the world were facing the same difficulties. It doesn’t make it actually easier in terms of the problems being faced personally, but there is some comforting perspective to know that the challenges are par for the course and not something unique or unexpected.
Thirdly, and most importantly, you are not without resources and hope for success. The problem is not endless, and our guarantee of calling to eternal salvation is not at stake. Of course, the need is to trust in and access this resource that makes one strong, firm and steadfast.
Don’t be alone the first way, understand you’re not alone in the second way, and in the third way don’t become estranged from the resources you have in God. That is indeed the way you absolutely don’t want to be alone.