You know how sometimes you read a very familiar verse so you kind of gloss over it until you get to the next one, and the next one smacks you in the face? Yes? OK good. It’s not just me.
Reading 1 Peter 5, I read verse 8 and then verse 9 grabbed me. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 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.”
Peter wrote this book of the Bible as a letter to believers in the early ’60’s. They were being persecuted, and he wanted to give them guidance and hope. He wanted each of these small cities in Asia Minor to know the others were going through hard times, and none of them were the only ones. It can definitely make things a lot easier to keep going when you know that your family is there with you, suffering along with you. The book of 1 Peter is kind of like an email blast to keep the early Christians updated. There was no internet or even phones for these remote towns, so they had to rely on this method and take Peter’s word.
Y’all, I don’t know about you, but this verses brings me shame. I do know that Christians around the world are being persecuted, but it is definitely not the same sufferings as me. They are fighting for their actual freedom, not the perceived rights I think are being taken from me. They are fighting to keep their lives, not their taxes. I complain about the most minor of things while people don’t have a Bible or easy access to a church (or seven churches.)
The truths in the Bible still apply today, as evil is still here. It may take different forms, but we need to stay alert and stay firm in our faith. My suffering may look different than people on the other side of the world, or even yours, but we must hold true to our beliefs. Today my persecution may look like being rejected by a friend for being a Christian, but that doesn’t mean it will stay like that. If I can’t stay true to my relationship with Jesus through a small issue like that, there is no way I could hold up under worse.
Maybe all this sounds dire, but we must not forget that Peter pointed out that we aren’t alone in this. We have God to help us, but we also have each other to lean on. Remember Satan may be prowling around, but he is looking for the weak and alone. We need to strengthen our resolve now, before his attacks grow stronger.
Peter left us with hope in the very next verse. “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. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Linking with Holley Gerth