Don't Get Eaten

Text: 1 Peter 5:8
Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. (NRSV)

We often talk about spiritual exercises or spiritual disciplines.  In fact, as I am writing this, I am also preparing a sermon series for Lent on the spiritual disciplines.

In high school, the word discipline had a somewhat different meaning for me.  I wonder how many people think back to their experiences of discipline in their families or in their high schools as children.  If that is your first thought when you hear the word, you may shy away from the spiritual disciplines that Peter seems to be recommending to his readers.

Spiritual disciplines are designed to help us be intentionally focused on God and our spiritual growth.  If we are not focused or intentional about our life with God—our spirituality—then know that there is another being who IS intentionally focused on your spirituality and that is not a good thing.
Peter tells us that the Devil is intentionally looking for someone to devour.  Satan is described by Peter as a roaring lion looking for prey.  In this imagery, Satan is not passive and only taking advantage of those who intentionally live outside of God’s will; Satan is aggressively and intentionally hunting down otherwise innocent Christians in order to do real harm to their spiritual lives—their relationship with Jesus.

How do we deter Satan?  Peter tells us to discipline ourselves.  To me, what this means is that we are to practice the spiritual exercises—disciplines that keep us in the presence of God.  The intentional practice of these disciplines will resist Satan and he will flee.  The intentional practice of these disciplines will seek out the Lord and he will draw near (see James 4:7-8).

How are you doing with your spiritual disciplines?  Are you practicing prayer? Are you practicing Bible reading? Are you practicing fasting? Are you practicing confession? Are you practicing private and public worship? Are you practicing solitude? Are you practicing generosity?

Pray with me:

God of strength and God of shelter keep me safe from Satan as he prowls around looking for someone to devour.  Fill me with the desire to be intentional about my relationship with you that Satan may flee as you draw near to me.  AMEN.

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