Satan does not have a PR agent who notifies the public about his agenda. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that he has declared an unholy war, a Satanic jihad, on all that belongs to God and which bears testimony to Him in this world. Among his targets, clearly visible in his cross hairs, have been small and, in the accounting of men, rather insignificant companies of believers who seek to gather to His Name and honor Him. His strategy has been both skillful and cruel, moving on several fronts to accomplish his goals. His multipronged attack has included and been launched against:
In western lands, tolerance has become so endemic that the response of most people is no longer mockery or scorn, but a condescending attitude: “If it works for you, that’s great. But please don’t bother me with it.” Interest in the gospel among people in developed nations is probably at an all-time low.
Peter reminds us in his second letter that mockers would arise denying the veracity of Scripture. Even in some professed evangelical circles, where inspiration is given verbal acceptance, its sufficiency is questioned. We are told that we need new revelations for the present day. Somehow, an omniscient God did not realize our needs when He had the Scriptures penned.
Believers, as well, are being attacked. These attacks take several subtle forms: increased demand in the workplace which leaves men weary and brain-dead at the end of a work day; stress resulting in little reserve for applying minds to Scripture. Time is limited. Financial demands mean two wage earners are needed; families become fragmented; assembly meetings become optional. Spiritual life suffers.
Those who serve God, whether full time or locally, face not only the discouraging circumstances of little in the way of visible fruit, but dwindling attendance at meetings. This, coupled with personal attacks and temptation from Satan, constitutes a tremendous danger for them in their service for God.
Peter, or rather the Word of God, reminds us of our resources against the lion. In 1 Peter 5, he stresses three couplets: leading and feeding (vv1-5), humility and maturity (vv5-7), and soberness and alertness (vv8-9). As saints are led and fed, lives are preserved. Marked by humility in our dealings with each other, and maturity in our attitudes, unity is maintained. We have a Chief Shepherd to Whom we can bring everything and upon Whom we can reliably depend (v7). Clarity of thought and vigilance make us conscious of the seriousness of life and the hidden minefields through which we pass. Elsewhere, Paul wrote that “we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) devices” (2Cor 2:11).
As we move forward into 2015, there is little doubt that the lion will continue to roar. But we have a Lord Who is our resource amidst it all. With total dependence upon Him, an eye for His honor alone, and a willingness to fulfill whatever role He has assigned us, may we know His preserving and prospering hand in the days ahead.