Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
We will briefly look at the command to “be watchful.” What does this mean? The short answer is that we all have to constantly stay away from what is wicked and look to do what glorifies God.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Peter, here is a brief summary. Peter was a fisherman then Jesus called to be His disciple. During Jesus’ ministry Peter was a witness to Jesus healing his mother-in-law, Jesus walking on water, as well as The Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter, James, and John became the closest to Jesus during his ministry. We also look at the last supper, which was a particularly significant moment for Peter. Just before Jesus is going to be crucified, he has a final meal with his disciples. Jesus makes it known that Peter will betray Him which Peter replies “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus predicts that Peter isn’t actually this faithful and that Peter will betray him 3 times before the rooster crows, which Peter did.
When we read about Peter as he begins to deny Jesus a second and third time it is so hard to not internally scream “PETER DO YOU NOT REALIZE YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY AS JESUS PREDICTED.” It is so easy to condemn Peter. We ourselves may never see ourselves as a Peter. But the truth is, neither could have Peter. Peter is good with words, he says “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” To be honest, that is very well said. That would have been a good tweet. Peter knew how to make himself look “holy.” But the truth is, no matter how good we look or how “holy” we feel, we are all vulnerable to a big downfall. Because as long as the “devil prowls” we are all vulnerable. However, vulnerable does not mean inevitable. To prevent a big mistake from happening is seen in 1 Peter 5:8. We must “be watchful.”
Two takeaways I believe we can take away from the texts.
1. Be compassionate
We should never be condemning people after they fall. It is so easy to feel like you would never lose your job, hurt anyone you love, or cheat on your spouse. So when people do one of these things is IS SO EASY to think you are better than them. Many of us may feel as good as Peter likely felt about himself at the last supper. But the truth is, after time, along with with different types of factors, a big mistake CAN happen. If we are not careful we can end up in a compromising position. When we hear someone fall we should pray for them, pray that they realize the grace of God and are able to bounce back by the spirit of God.
When we hear of a big mistake someone may have made we should take that time to not condemn and boast our self righteousness, but to use that as a reminder to look at yourself and reevaluate our life. Which leads to the second point:
2. Be watchful
In the practical sense, pray for God to show you areas of your life that may be dangerous or can lead you to a place you don’t want to be. We must CONSTANTLY be watchful and be aware that THERE IS an enemy out to get us. We have to always know that. For God to be able to evaluate and adjust your life you have to be able to submit to him. God can’t change anything in your life if you don’t want him to. When we tell ourselves and God “my life is yours,” that is when God can not only adjust potentially dangerous things in our life, but can use you in a powerful way.