UNDERSTANDING THE ACCURATE DANGER

roaring lion
I am struck by Peter’s perspective as he concludes his letter to scattered Christians (1 Peter 5:8-14). He writes to them about being alert to dangers and about standing firm amidst suffering.

To put this in context, Nero has begun persecuting Christians. Believers are being imprisoned and tortured and executed for their faith. I would have thought that Peter would warn these scattered believers to be alert to the danger of government authorities who are cracking down on Christians, or to be alert to soldiers who are out to get them, or to be alert to spies who may be bribed or coerced to turn them in. Those may, indeed, be dangers the Christians were facing, but that’s not what Peter warned them to be alert to. Peter was concerned about a danger more severe than imprisonment or physical pain or even death. He was concerned about their soul. He warned them to beware the attacks of the devil whose aim is to destroy our spiritual lives.

It struck me that I often go about my life fretting about the wrong dangers. I worry about my physical health and finances and whether I am doing my job well enough and what people think of me and so forth. But Peter’s focus was on the health of the soul, warning us to be alert to the attacks of the devil, and encouraging us to stand firm in the faith. He seems to have remembered Jesus’ words in Luke 9:25, “What good is it for a person to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

Dear Savior, help me to focus my heart and mind and soul on that which matters most, the health of my soul. Help me to be alert to threats to my soul, and help me to stand firm in the things that will strengthen my soul.

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