“Be sober minded; Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Imagine being mocked for claiming the name of Christ.
Driven from your home, from your nation.
Starved, tortured, executed.
These threats are a sobering reality for millions of Christ-followers around the world. Some have been forced from their homes and their ancestral lands, others have been imprisoned, and some have even been tortured for their faith. If they survived, it may have been at the cost of recanting their faith in their Lord and Savior. Some will forever bear the human scars of mistreatment and torture, while others still are now remembered as martyrs.
Friend, we must slow down, then stop, to consider the challenges that other believers around the world are facing every day. In my work with LIFE International I have had the opportunity to meet people experiencing these horrors (and I’m sure you too have read about or witnessed these violations). When I allow my fast-paced, self-focused schedule to run my thinking, I overlook the plight of millions of brothers and sisters in Christ, and I miss the opportunity to live out the command to be sober-minded and watchful.
More people are dying for their faith today than in any other time in history, yet we carry on as if it were not true. This must not be so! This awareness compels me to pray for my fellow Believers in faith that God will intervene.
Even while I am praying for God’s deliverance, they are praying over us: “Lord, have mercy on our brothers and sisters in the free world. Free them from their material idols and give them a steadfast faith in the midst of the temptations they face.”
We must—all of us—be sober-minded and watchful, for our enemy is prowling around like a lion seeking to devour us. Perhaps he is more subtle with us in the free world than He is with those in the developing world, but the attacks are real and they are increasing. They may not be often in a physical, life-threatening way (prison, torture, etc.), but they are no less dangerous to our human presents, and to our eternal futures.
Peter counseled all of us better than I could hope to, so I’ll let him advise us about what to do in the face of the burden of suffering wrought upon us by the world: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:6-11).