Focal Passage: I Peter 5:6-11
America loves the underdog! I guess it began when we as a nation won our independence against the sophisticated and trained British Army. Our nation still remembers the “Miracle on Ice,” when the underdog United States Olympic hockey team defeated the powerful Russian team in 1980, and then went on to unexpectedly win the gold medal.
We cheer for the underdog because they have to work harder, dig deeper, and have a tougher resolve than their opponent. At times, Christians feel like the underdog as we face the attacks of a powerful enemy in an increasingly hostile world. However, a victorious faith remembers that the war has already been won! Through Christ Jesus, Christians are more than conquerors. He won the victory on the cross of Calvary!
Victory is found in the believer, but not through the believer. Satan is not afraid of us, but He is terrified of the Holy Spirit that resides in us! And in these verses, Peter reminds us, even though we are victorious in Christ, there are some actions that need to take place to live a victorious daily faith!
The first action required for this faith is humility. It is a humility that realizes life is all about Christ, and not about self! When life becomes all about the individual, the pressure to succeed takes over. Over a period of time, the anxieties of the battle begin to weigh us down, and the fiery darts of the enemy are not as easy to avoid. Peter reminds us to stop trying to do it on our own. Instead, put all those anxieties and pressure on someone else: Jesus Christ! Hebrews 12:1-2 says to “…lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Why can we give all our anxieties and burdens to Christ? Because He cares and because He is able! See, the word for “cares” found at the end of verse 7 is actually singular, meaning that God only has one care – Us!
The second action needed for a victorious faith is a watchful self-control! It is a call to awareness. Our enemy is on the prowl! He is not out to wound, he is out to devour. To live in victory, one must realize that the enemy is not to be taken lightly. In our world today, we can easily see some of the strategies Satan is employing against the people of God. When these attacks are recognized, Peter’s words remind us to allow the fruit of self-control to take charge. Verse 8 is a call for Christians to keep their wits about them when the inevitable roar of the enemy is heard.
Next, victorious faith displays unyielding resistance. That is the idea of steadfastness Peter expresses in verse 9. There must be the resolve in the Christian journey that says, “No matter what Satan sends, no matter the extent of the suffering and persecution, I will not fall, I will stand!” Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armor of God. The task of the Christian is not to attack. No, the assignment of the believer is “having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13b) When that is the resolve of a believer, Satan can send any kind of attack, and when the assault is complete, he will see a victorious faith still standing in the Lord Jesus Christ! Standing in His grace, in His strength, and for His Glory! God’s grace cannot fail, and Satan cannot win! Let the lion roar, and then let him see a victorious faith found in Christ Jesus, the Lion of Judah!
— Nelson is pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville.