Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
— 1 Peter 5:8
Has the devil ever tried to use your past against you? Maybe he’s told you, “You’re in this mess because of your own actions! Don’t even try to ask God to help you because you got into this mess by yourself, and now you’re going to have to get out of it by yourself! God won’t help you, because you’re reaping exactly what you’ve sown!”
If you’ve ever heard these kinds of accusations from the devil, then First Peter 5:8 is just for you! It says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
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The word “vigilant” comes from the Greek word gregoreo, which means to be on your guard, to be watchful, or to be attentive. This word primarily denotes the watchful attitude of one who is on the lookout to make certain no enemy or aggressor can successfully gain entry into his life or place of residence.
This tells us that we must be on high alert against an enemy who is seeking to gain access to our lives. The Greek tense for the word “vigilant” means to be continually, perpetually vigilant. That means this is not a one-time act of vigilance, but the attitude of a person who is unwavering in his commitment. This person has resolved that he will never let up in his pledge to be watchful, wide awake, and on the lookout to make sure some sinister force doesn’t successfully sneak up to attack and overtake him.
The fact that Peter uses the word gregoreo lets us know that the devil can be pretty sneaky in the way he attacks. Therefore, we must be constantly observant to keep the devil out of our affairs.
Peter goes on to say, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary.…” That word “adversary” is from the Greek word antidikos. This word was used in New Testament times for a lawyer who argued in a court of law. This was the picture of a prosecutor who brought offenders to court, argued vehemently against them, and then sent them off to prison. Now Peter uses this word to depict the way the devil may try to overtake us!
Peter is telling us that when the devil strikes, he often acts like a lawyer who tries to bring us down by prosecuting us with the facts of our past sins and mistakes. The enemy drags up facts from the past and reminds us of our former failures; then he vigorously tries to convince us that we deserve to be in the mess we are in. If the devil is successful in his prosecution, he will persuade us to believe that we are unrighteous and unworthy and that we deserve as just punishment whatever difficulties he is throwing our way.
It is unfortunate that many believers assist the devil in his efforts to prosecute them by being irresponsible or negligent in key areas of their lives. For instance, many people have money problems because they have spent too much money or used their credit cards way beyond the limit of what they could afford. Others get sick in the wintertime because they go outside without proper clothing. Marriages get into trouble because the spouses never spend time together or do anything to nurture their relationships. Christians like to blame the devil for everything that happens, but the truth is, people usually help out the enemy a little along the way!
Praise God, when we sin and do wrong, His grace is there to forgive and to restore us! But the devil is also there. The enemy remembers every innocent mistake made along the way, and like a prosecutor or “adversary” (the Greek word antidikos), he comes to accuse you. Like a lawyer, he argues his points in your mind, saying:
- You’re in this mess because of your own dumb mistakes!
- You’re reaping what you sowed, and there’s no way for you to get out of this mess!
- You’re paying for your past!
- Your kids are a mess because you failed as a parent!
- You’re going to go bankrupt because you spent too much money on worthless things!
- You’ve destroyed all your friendships because you weren’t a faithful friend!
Sometimes the devil is accurate in what he tells you. It may be true that you created this mess! You really may have messed up your friendships by not being a faithful friend. You may have spent too much money, and the financial trouble you’re in now may very well be your own fault! All the devil’s accusations may be true. Believe me, he isn’t going to make up some absurd fantasy that won’t affect you. The devil is going to try to use facts and arguments that make sense to you so you’ll agree with him!
But you must never forget what David told us: The Lord is the One who redeems our lives from destruction (Psalm 103:4). He is a restoring, delivering, redeeming God! He wants to snatch you out of the power of darkness and get you over into His realm of life and light where past sin won’t continue to exert its influences upon you (Colossians 1:13)! You just need to genuinely repent of past mistakes, get your heart right with God, and then tell the devil to flee!
If you keep dwelling on the accusations that the enemy is speaking against you in your mind, you’ll find yourself in trouble pretty quickly. Peter goes on to tell you why this is so: “…The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Have you ever heard lions when they are hungry? They roar so loudly that the sound is nearly deafening. Peter says that this is what it’s like when the devil starts attacking your mind. Your mind is so filled with the roars of the enemy’s accusations that you can’t hear anything else but those lies. He tells you over and over, “You’re going to fail…fail…fail…fail…FAIL!!!” Even when people try to tell you the truth, it’s hard to hear what they’re saying because those lies are roaring so loudly in your mind and ears!
If you keep giving ear to the devil’s accusations, he will keep you all torn up inside and in a constant state of turmoil. In fact, Peter says he will “devour” you. The word “devour” is the Greek word pino, which means to drink, to lick, or to slurp up, as a lion might lick the blood of his prey off the ground. The devil wants to turn you into a mess of liquid emotions and then lick you up until there’s nothing left of your life. That’s what he wants to do with you — but you don’t have to let him do it!
When you put all these words together, First Peter 5:8 could be interpreted:
“You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you with all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl — constantly walking around, roaring with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!”
You don’t have to fall victim to the devil’s attacks! Peter tells us, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:9). If you’ll resist the devil, you can run him clear out of your mind and your life. He doesn’t know how to deal with those who stand up to him, so he runs in fear when a believer challenges him! And if you feel too weak to resist the devil by yourself, I would advise you to find people who know how to pray and let them help you!
Has the devil been harassing you about anything in particular? Are you tired of this constant harassment? If so, it’s time for you to stand up, throw back your shoulders, and command him to leave in Jesus’ name! Then determine to stay alert and watchful, constantly on your guard. You can be sure that the enemy will try to come back to accuse you again — but next time, you’ll be ready for him!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am asking You to help me take authority over the accusations that the devil has been speaking in my mind. He’s been telling me all the reasons that I shouldn’t have any hope and that I deserve to be in this mess. But Your grace is greater than any mistake I’ve made or sin I’ve committed in the past! I know that You have forgiven me and redeemed me from any mess I’ve created by my own actions. I thank You now for Your forgiveness and mercy, and today I lay claim to the power of restoration! Devil, right now I command you to leave me in Jesus’ name! I refuse to listen to your accusations any longer!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare that I have confessed all my past sins and mistakes. Therefore, I am forgiven; I am clean; and I am free in the sight of the Lord. He does not hold my past against me. He is my Redeemer, my Restorer, my Deliverer, and my Salvation. His Spirit is operating in me right now to get me out of every mess I have created, both intentionally and unintentionally. My heart is repentant, and my desire is to do what is right. Therefore, God is helping me walk out of the problems that have tried to grip my mind and my life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Are there areas in your life in which the devil is trying to drag up the past so he can accuse you and convince you that you deserve the attacks that are coming against you right now?
2. Have you taken the time to sincerely repent for those past sins and mistakes before the Lord? Or did you just quickly admit you sinned, never allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with you deeply about these matters?
3. If the devil has been roaring in your mind, consider what steps you can take to stop those roaring accusations, such as listening to praise and worship music or teaching tapes, meditating on the Word, etc. What other steps can you take to silence the enemy’s accusations?