Run For Your Life
1 Peter 5:8-9
In his book Born to Run, Christopher McDougall says this, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up, it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
On the plains of Africa passivity is a killer! Not to do something is to have something done to you. If the gazelle fails to run it gets eaten, if the lion fails to run it has nothing to eat. Both the gazelle and lion must run for their life. And so it is with the Christian. By way of comparison, the apostle Peter warns the Christians of the Dispersion that when the sun comes up they had better be on their toes for their adversary “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Christian’s nemesis, the devil, is always sniffing around trying to pick up the scent of the lazy Christian, the prayerless saint, and the unbelieving believer who fails to understand the spiritual danger they are in each day. Therefore, passivity in the Christian life is just as deadly as it is on the plains of Africa. Scripture teaches that those who quickly give up the fight (1 Tim. 6:11-12), those who do not watch and pray (Mark 14:37-38), and those who do not put on the armor of God every day (Eph. 6:10-18) are easy pickings for Satan, the adversary of our souls.
In fact, Peter identifies four spiritual stragglers that are most vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, the prowling lion. First, he would remind us that the cocky Christian is in danger (1 Peter 5:5). Pride, a lack of dependence upon God was Satan’s sin, and when it is found in us, gives the devil more room to work (1 Tim. 3:6). Second, Peter would remind us that the anxious soul is at risk (1 Peter 5:7). At the heart of anxiety is a divided mind, a mind that cannot fully trust or obey God. Satan likes to wedge himself there bringing accusations and spreading lies (Rev. 12:10; John 8:44). Third, the apostle would remind us that the sleepy-headed are a target (1 Peter 5:8). Vigilance is the price of spiritual liberty; to snooze is to lose it. The Christians is not and ought not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). Fourth, and finally, Peter would remind us that the spiritual pacifist is a sitting duck for the enemy (1 Peter 5:9). It is never the case if you leave the devil alone that he will leave you alone. He is actively seeking our spiritual destruction. Consequently, he must be resisted aggressively through prayer, theological conviction, Christian community, and dependence upon Christ (James 4:7).
Regarding these last two vulnerabilities George Malone insightfully writes, “The lion can only devour what he has overtaken, or what has purposely lain down. Passive acceptance of our circumstance or our sin is permission for the devil to take more ground. The passive man or woman is a person who has lost all hope that any effort will make a difference.” That is a good word! Don’t accept your circumstance or sin, run for your life, run looking to Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2).
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