“Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion looking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8.
World War II has been something of an interest of mine. Peal Harbor, the D-Day campaign and naval battles have been the areas I’ve spent most of my time when I’m reading about WWII. Recently, I picked up a book called The War Below by James Scott which covers the patrols of three different US submarines. In its most basic form, a submarine’s mission is to find a target, approach it by stealth and attack without the enemy ever knowing where the attack was originating. The resulting chaos from an unknown attacker makes any retaliatory action by the enemy less effective.
Like a submarine, our enemy tends to approach us by stealth and fire at us when we least expect it. How can we defend ourselves against this enemy? Peter tells us to be sober and vigilant, but what does that mean beyond just not being intoxicated? Is there more to this warning? The first word is more than just not drinking too much. It refers to the “intoxicating influence of sin.” Helps Ministries says it refers to “having a presence of mind” and a “clear judgment.”
The next word, we translate as “vigilant” means to be watchful or “on the alert.”
So when Peter puts these words together he is warning us in the strongest language to watch out, pay attention, BE ON THE ALERT!!!! Our adversary is on the prowl and it’s only the wise and prudent believer is prepared to do battle. Like the submarine, he approaches by stealth, waits for the perfect time and strikes without warning.
Jesus, referring to the devil said “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy” John 10:10a. James tells us “But each one of you is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” James 1:14. The devil is very real and he is out for our destruction.
We are to be on the alert, look out and pay attention because of Satan’s presence. As Christians, we have God’s Word as a weapon (Hebrews 4:12) and unique armor (Ephesians 6:11-16). We are in a battle. It’s not one fought off small islands in the Pacific Ocean, but it’s a very personal and constant spiritual battle. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty in God…” (Emphasis mine)
It is a battle, everyday. But it’s a battle where we need not succumb to defeat. Arm yourself. Get in His Word and pay attention. He’s out there looking to deceive, discourage and defeat you. But we can overcome the devices of Satan as he is already a defeated foe! We just need to claim the victory, using the weapon of the Word of God.