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July 30 – Sojourners resist the Devil

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him. – 1 Peter 5:8, 9a

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 5:5-9

Being humble does not mean we are to be weak, timid or unengaged in the Christian life. The next exhortations make clear that humble servants are called to action: be sober, be vigilant, resist the devil!

When we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and know that He cares for us, He picks us up and enables us to resist the devil-only then. Do not try this on your own. The devil is not a plaything. He is your enemy, the accuser. He is pleased to devour you with lies that lure you into disobedience. And, when you fall, he is pleased to paralyze you with guilt and fear, “I can’t believe you did that, God will never forgive you!”

“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It’s not a matter of the flashy spiritual warfare tactics. You resist him, says Peter, when you are steadfast in the faith and stand firm with the Word of God. When you are tempted, you resist him when you go back to the Word and say, “It is written.” You stand firm in the faith when you draw near to God, cry out with prayer and supplication, casting all your cares on Him. These challenges are experienced by your brothers and sisters all over the world. But God is faithful. He has given us one another to encourage one another. He is the God of all grace! Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Suggestions for prayer

Reflect on the schemes the devil is using as your enemy. Ask God to uphold and encourage you in His grace, to help you be steadfast in the faith. Pray for those who experience the same sufferings throughout the world.

Rev. John A. Bouwers is pastor of the Hope Reformed Church (URCNA) in Brampton, ON, where he has served since December 2017. He is married to Julie and they have been blessed with six children and twelve grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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