Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . . 1 Peter 5: 8 – 9
Do you ever feel as it there is something terribly wrong with our world? Is it because of the evil around us? Do you believe in evil and the evil one?
Some say there is no such thing as either one. They argue it is just a state of mind; the opposite of good, and that the “devil” is just the sinful part of each of us. Yet God, in His Word has made the truth known, and He has assured us that evil does exist.
Have you ever thought about how you would define evil? We would probably use terms such as “wicked, reprehensible, malicious, morally bad, and causing harm or suffering.” Evil , in simple terms, seeks to destroy. The Christian definition of evil makes the illustration even more vivid by describing it as “the total absence of God, a dark place filled with hopelessness and despair.” Can your mind even conceive of such a horrible thought – a place without the presence of God, a place without light and goodness?
I think we have seen much evidence of such a place in men’s hearts in recent weeks with all the hatred, desire for revenge, and a drive for power to cause harm, as we have seen with the terrorists around the world as they terrorize and kill. We see vivid images on our TV screens of bombings and shootings, and we hear the many reports of murders, rapes, kidnappings, abuse, molestations, and destruction of property and lives in our own nation. The violence and injustice seems overwhelming, especially against innocent children, and we cringe in horror and disgust, and even feel emotional pain when we see or hear of these despicable acts against anyone.
This verse from 1 Peter reminds us that we must be on guard from such evil. There are 20 times in the New Testament, when we are told to “Be alert, to be careful.” Most of these examples are said by Jesus Himself as He warns us of the spiritual warfare around us. He knew that our hearts would be constantly tempted away from Him and our minds led onto a path of hatred and discontent. Such evil intentions are meant to take our eyes off of Christ and divert our attention on the world. They are meant to make us doubt God’s power, goodness, justice, and grace, while offering attractive counterfeit “gods” who will better serve our needs, give us satisfaction, and give us value more than God can. In this way, evil seeks to gain the victory over Christ.
As evil “prowls around the earth like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”, we all are susceptible to its power. We must be firm in our faith and vigilant against the attacks to make us deny God’s truths. We must keep our eyes focused on Him and trust in His promises, His love, and His saving grace. And one thing we can be sure of is that He will overcome evil in this world, and the kingdom of Christ will stand for all eternity.
Dear God, amidst all the evil in the world, help us to stand firm in our faith in you. As we pray from the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever”. Amen