We Are Being Stalked
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.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV)
We have all watched the scary movies where a party is going on with everyone laughing and having a carefree time, yet a menacing bad guy is watching, waiting for the opportunity to pounce on some unsuspecting victim. We want to scream out, “Watch out! There is danger lurking!” Well, Peter does warn us all that there is a stalking enemy out there just looking for someone who will be his prey.
Peter's purpose is not exhorting us to be anxious or dour. He is encouraging us to be aware of the truth about who we are in Christ and who our real enemy actually is. Let’s start with the identity of the stalker: He is the devil, who is also known as Satan. He is evil, and he is the accuser. Jesus describes him as a liar and a murderer. In the Garden of Eden, he misinterpreted circumstances to imply that God did not have the best intentions for Adam and Eve. It would be prudent for us to be aware that his intentions, as well as his strategy, are the same for us as they were in the garden. He is looking for someone who will be easy prey.
Presumably, this is someone who is susceptible to baseless accusations. Someone who does not know the true nature of God and would believe the deceiver's insinuations about him. Those living through painful circumstances are especially vulnerable. If they are not acutely aware of God’s sovereign care for them, they can easily be swayed to conclude that God is either not totally good or not totally in control. They also might believe that God loves others more since they have less trouble. The accuser enjoys taking circumstances and interpreting them in a way to cast dispersion on God and those whom he loves.
We resist by standing firm in our faith and understanding God's nature. We refuse to doubt the love of God. After all, he has given us his own Son. We refuse to doubt his caring control. He has faithfully fulfilled every promise he ever made. We are as loved and secure as his eternal Son. The lies must be combated with aggressive truth, especially the truth about what Jesus accomplished at the cross. The faith that was given to us is our shield. It must be held up to quench the fiery darts of the devil.
Sadly, many are living as victims of the roaring lion. He has frightened them into a cave of fear as they try to figure out how to make sense of a life that can often seem harsh. No wonder that Peter warned us to be sober and alert. We are being stalked. But there is a greater truth that will protect us from the stalker: We have been sought and captured by the Lord of the universe, and he has made us his own. We are held in his hands as well as his heart. We are loved and his love is the most powerful force in existence. We can confidently go about our assignment knowing that we are victors in him.