Copy of Watchful. Faithful. Hopeful.

I remember watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t believe it. Sure, there were times that I was convinced they’d fall apart, but nevertheless, they came through. Years later, anytime I see footage of those games I find myself nervous again. How will this end? Will they really pull this off? Of course, to you this might seem silly. The series has already been played. The victory has already been won. The winner has been declared. But isn’t this the way we so often approach our faith? Are we always mindful of the fact that victory has been secured? Do we live like love has won?

GOD’S WORD

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 5:8-11 (ESV)

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
— 2 Timothy 2:8-9 (ESV)

Perhaps you didn’t wake up this morning thinking you have an enemy. Truth is, however, you do. If you profess Christ as Lord, you’ve got an enemy. Peter tells us that Satan is at work, lurking, prowling, looking for his next opportunity to strike. He is working to draw you off course, away from living out the Gospel in your life. Be aware that he’s looking for a way to get at you. Stay sharp. Keep your wits about you. Stay rooted in Christ. Be vigilant. Be watchful.

Does this mean you ought to go about your day in fear of this “roaring lion” that may be lurking in every shadow? No! In response to trials and suffering, Peter and Paul identify two key things for us. We are to remember and resist. Paul tells us to remember Christ, the One who suffered greatly, but beat death and rose from the grave. Keep your faith in Him. Peter encourages us to remember the suffering of fellow believers for the sake of the Gospel. As we recall the sacrifice of Jesus and the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we find the faith to resist the devil’s schemes.

The lion is lurking, the trials may come, but have faith, and recognize that the story doesn’t end with your suffering. Look ahead to the day you are restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established by Christ. Furthermore, recognize that though you may suffer, the Gospel persists! Paul was in chains for Christ, and yet the word of God could not and cannot be bound!

So, be watchful. Be faithful. Be hopeful. Do not lose sight of the fact that the enemy is on the prowl. But do not lose faith! When trials come, trust that the One that has promised to never leave you nor forsake you has got your back. Stand strong, remembering the faithful endurance of those brothers and sisters who are suffering for the sake of the Gospel. And, perhaps most importantly, be hopeful! Remember, the outcome of this match is already decided. The deck is stacked. The lion may roam and roar, but Jesus has won this war and that is Good News that cannot be shackled.

REFLECT

What are you doing to stay sharp, to stay vigilant, to keep an eye out for Satan’s schemes? How prepared are you to resist him, standing firm in your faith? What is one thing you will do today to bolster your faith? Where will you place your hope this week? How does knowing that the victory has already been won change the way you will live out the Gospel?

PRAY

Ask the Lord to make you more aware of the schemes of your enemy. Invite Him to grant you the faith to resist and for the courage to place your hope and trust in Him.