Is the Devil Real to You?
Peter is giving advice to pastors and leaders in the church in 1 Peter 5 and part of that advice has to do with the devil. I’m concerned that many people in the church think very little about the devil…perhaps even to the point where they may not even think that he exists. Some will say that the idea of the devil in the book of Revelation isn’t meant to be “real”; that the genre of Revelation is apocalyptic and symbolic. But what about here in 1 Peter? Peter is talking about practical things like shepherding the church, being humble, being submissive and then Peter writes this: 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. I hope that you don’t think this is symbolic in nature. I don’t see any way to take this except literally. There is a realm of existence that we know very little about, the realm of angels and demons. Here, Peter is very clear about the command to “resist the devil” and the activity of the devil, depicting him as a lion seeking to devour the follower of Jesus. I hope that the devil is real to you. I hope that you do not dismiss the devil as some creation intended to scare people into obedience. If you think that, you are playing right into his hand. Submit to God and resist the devil. The devil is very real and yet God is so much more powerful. The child of God need not fear the devil but should respect his power. If you don’t believe in the devil, why not? The same Bible which reveals the truth about God reveals the truth about the devil. You can’t accept one and not the other. If you reject the devil, you are just putting yourself in a very vulnerable position; subject to being his “prey”. My prayer is that you would take the destructive ministry of the devil very seriously and be sober and watchful.