1 Peter 5:8 warns us: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV 84)
The Life Application Bible adds this: "Lions attack sick, young or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. ....if you are so focused on your troubles that you forget to watch for danger, those are the times when you are especially vulnerable..."
So, what are we to do? Lions attack pretty quick and pretty ferociously. How do we prepare and battle when the enemy comes near?
Peter goes on to give us more advice, in preceding and following verses.
1 Peter 5:6-7~ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (NIV 84; italics mine).
Notice that it says He will lift you up in due time. Not my time. Not your time. But HIS time. It doesn't say might lift you up either. God is a faithful and compassionate God. As we go on, we see that He wants us to 'cast' our anxieties on Him because He CARES for us. He doesn't want us to carry this alone.
According to the free dictionary, to cast something means "to throw", "to throw with force; hurl". Literally throw them things down that cause you anxiety. Not lightly place them down. Not twirl them around in your hands. THROW THEM THINGS!!!
Here, the Life Application Bible gives more more insight: "Humbly obey God regardless of present circumstances...." Hmm...regardless of present circumstances. Ouch. This is tough. We have had an extremely trying four years here. Just when things started to mellow out a little bit, ROAR! Out comes the prowling lion.
Once again, Peter provides more advice that should NOT be taken lightly. You see, Peter knows a little about prowling and devouring. He was warned by our Lord Jesus in Luke 22:31-32 that Satan had asked to "sift him as wheat". However, in verse 32, Jesus assures Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith should not fail. Romans 8:34 assures US that Jesus is interceding for US as well. According to dictionary.com, intercession is "an interposing or pleading on behalf of another person", "a prayer to God on behalf of another".
Sound familiar? There is another place where we see Jesus praying not only for His disciples, but for all of us believers as well--John chapter 17--also known as the "High Priest prayer".
More advice from Peter? The 'sifted'?
1 Peter 5:9~ Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (NIV 84)
We resist the enemy by standing firm in the faith. The faith in and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James also offers us some advice here:
James 4:7~ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV 84). Sound good right about now?
When difficult times arise, and they will, both Peter and James offer us solid, Scriptural advice on how to deal with them.
- Humble and submit ourselves before God. Petition Him in prayer with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:6)
- Cast (throw, hurl) our worries, anxieties, and troubles upon Him. Once again, go to Him in prayer. Once you do this, leave them there as best as you can. Try not to pick them back up. Sometimes easier said than done, but there is a reason Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light. (Matthew 11:30).
- Stand FIRM in our faith. Don't let the attacks dissuade you. Remember your God. Remember your faith. Don't be like the ground in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:18-23) -when persecution arises, they choke out the Word of Hope that was planted within. Put on the WHOLE Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).