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THE WORRY

War

SESSION #3

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Satan's goal

1 PETER 5:6-11

Life has a way of humbling us. Imperfect people living in a broken world provides the perfect forecast for being humbled. Some people seem to be looking for humbling experiences. According to the Himalayan database more than 6,000 people have ascended on Mount Everest with many succeeding more than once. At a staggering 29,032 feet, many treks last more than 40 days just for elevation acclimation.

Countless experienced mountaineers have failed several times before a successful summit. As of December 2021 around 305 people have tragically died attempting to summit Everest. These deaths occurred despite upwards of 12 months of planning and training and even with an experienced guide. 113 of these deaths occurred on the descent. If you want to be humbled go climb Mount Everest.

Most people have no desire to be humbled though. We should remember that Peter tells us God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). This is Peter’s support for calling on the entire congregation to “clothe” themselves with humility. This comes in the context of experiencing cruel persecution. So what is the correlation between humility, suffering, and Satan’s attacks?

Understanding God’s respective responses to pride and humility, Peter calls suffering believers to humble themselves under God’s mighty hand in order to be exalted. We should trust that this exaltation will happen in God’s timing and that may not even come in this lifetime.

We’re called to humble ourselves by casting our worries on God, believing that He cares for us. Our worries often lead us to live in our own strength and wisdom. Our individualistic culture empowers us to believe that we can endure anything or figure everything out. This is pride in its simplest form. Humility says, “I can’t handle it but God can”. Pride will ensure that we continue to carry the full weight of our worries alone.

We are naïve or foolish if we believe Satan will not attack us at our lowest. Peter reminds us why we need to be of a sober spirit and live on the alert, we have an adversary. Satan’s goal is simple, destruction. He wishes to destroy the lost before they trust in Jesus and destroy the Christian before he can have an impact for the kingdom of God. He is relentless in his attack. Though we can’t rule out physical affliction (see the story of Job), scripture shows Satan primarily attacking the mind.

Both with Eve and Jesus, Satan attacked the mind instead of the body. Satan deceived Eve by challenging her commitment to obey God’s word (Genesis 3). In a moment, her pride took over and she only thought of how it might taste and make her wise. Satan will question the content of the Word of God, the truthfulness of the Word of God, and the goodness of the God of the Word.

Of course Satan was unsuccessful in his assault on Jesus. Satan tempted Him with creating food for himself (He had just fasted 40 days and 40 nights), calling the angels to serve Him, and even worshipping Satan in exchange for the world. In each attempt Jesus came back to the truth of scripture. In a moment, Jesus stood firm in his devotion to the will of God the Father.

Hoping to deceive us, Satan only needs to cause us to pridefully depend upon ourselves. But we can resist Him by standing firm. Our trust in Jesus combined with standing on our Christian disciplines will enable us to endure. Give your worries to God. Be ready for Satan’s attacks by expecting Satan’s attacks. Engage in the battle God’s way.

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSE:

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  1. Am I pridefully trying to carry my worries by myself?

  2. Do I live each day aware of and expecting Satan's attacks?

  3. How am I engaging in the battle?

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