“8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8,9)
“And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13)
In these two passages, we have a clear admonition that we are to stay alert and pray that God would preserve and keep us safe from the wiles of the devil’s temptation. To stay alert means that we need to not only acknowledge that Satan is real, that he is the father of all lies, but also that he is opposed to all that is good in our world. The devil stands opposed to God and His purposes in our world. Revelation 12:10 calls Satan the accuser of the brethren. We see two examples of Satan’s work in making accusations about believers in Scripture. In Job 1, Satan accuses Job before God declaring that Job will curse God once his family members, his possessions, and his health are taken from him. Later on in the New Testament, Satan does the same thing with the apostle Peter. In Luke 22:31, 32 Jesus spoke these words to Simon Peter,
“31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
It was the Devil’s intention to strip Peter of his faith in the LORD. But it was God’s intention that Peter would persevere in his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Satan accused Job and Peter and may accuse us. While we all have sinned and at times could get down on ourselves for acts of unfaithfulness to the LORD, it is God’s will for us to keep going back and asking Him to forgive us. God also wants us to get back on the road and seek to serve Him and do His will. Notice the words of Jesus to Peter, “when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Once Peter truly repented of denying the Lord, he was to serve the LORD by strengthening his brothers by using his gifts of teaching and leadership of the Christian Church. Peter was a faithful witness to Christ, proclaiming that Jesus died for our sin and rose again from the dead. Peter preached this message on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36). Peter’s example should remind us that just because we fail the Lord many times throughout our lives, God not only forgives us of our sins, but He changes us, renews us, and equips us to serve Him. Let us be watchful of the tactics of Satan, but let us also take comfort and joy that our God is all-powerful and most merciful to keep us so that we continue to trust and obey Him. When you fall down, remember that God knows you will fall, and He wants you to get back up and try again.
Here are two excellent prayers: a Prayer for Forgiveness and Dedication of Soul and Body to God’s Service, with a Resolution to be Growing Daily in Goodness from the Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of thy great mercy hast promised forgiveness of sins to all those who, with hearty repentance and true faith, turn unto thee; Have mercy upon us; pardon and deliver us from all our sins; confirm and strengthen us in all goodness; and bring us to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
AND since it is of thy mercy, O gracious Father, that another day is added to our lives; We here dedicate both our souls and our bodies to thee and thy service, in a sober, righteous, and godly life: in which resolution, do thou, O merciful God, confirm and strengthen us; that, as we grow in age, we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.