“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Up to this point, Peter has been preparing the believers to suffer for righteousness’ sake. He has identified various human sources from where their trials would come. Now, Peter warns them of this constant danger they are in from a spiritual enemy, whom he identifies as the devil (the slanderer). He likens him to a fierce lion who prowls around looking for someone to devour. This enemy is powerful, deceptive, opportunistic, and has one aim, and that is to make us sin against God and deny the faith.
The Scripture refers to him by various names, which describe his character: that serpent of old, the accuser of the brethren, the tempter, the evil one, the god of this age, Satan (adversary) & Apollyon (the one who destroys).
The first thing that Peter exhorts his readers and us to do, so as not to fall prey to this enemy, is to be on guard. He says: “Be sober-minded” and watchful. We must be spiritually alert at all times, so that we would “not be outwitted by Satan” (2 Cor 2:11). There is no truce with this enemy, so we must not be caught off guard without our spiritual armor. The sword of the Spirit must be ready in hand, while with the other hand we cling to the shield of faith, with which we quench the fiery darts of the evil one; and all the while praying with all earnestness for the aid of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way we can resist him and put him to flight. Peter found out firsthand how dangerous and powerful this enemy is, and how we need to watch and pray lest we fall into temptation.
He then reminds the believers that they are not alone in this fight, but their brethren around the world are experiencing the same suffering. How encouraging it is to hear/read the testimonies of suffering saints, as they testify of how the Lord sustained them in their suffering. That same comfort they received from the Lord, is also available to us in our time of suffering.
Today, Satan seems to be roaring and raging in the world and in the church. In the world, he works through the government, media, and academic institutions to deceive multitudes with falsehoods about God, sin, and eternal things; and in the church, Satan comes as an “angel of light”; he works through false teachers to deceive many with false gospels (prosperity gospel and easy believism, and the like).
As believers, we are to be aware and alert to the devil’s schemes, but we are by no means to be fearful of Him; because we are in the hands of a mighty Savior, who conquered Satan by dying on the cross and rising from the dead; and who has empowered us with His Holy Spirit, so that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. Satan has been defeated and mortally wounded; he knows that his days are numbered. So he is raging, but a day is coming, when this great deceiver, the devil, will be thrown into the lake of fire, where he will torment no more, but be tormented forever (Rev 20:10). Hallelujah!