2023: BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT, BE STEADFAST AND BE UNITED (1 PETER 5:8)
From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
2023: Be sober, Be vigilant, Be steadfast and Be united
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour“ 1 Peter 5:8
A timely reminder as we prepare ourselves to enter into the year 2023.
Do you know that the moment you acknowledge that you are a sinner, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in His finished salvific work on the cross at Calvary, confess and repent of your sins, you are born again? The Holy Spirit now indwells you. You are now the child of the most High God (cf. John 1:12). You are now spiritual. This is your new life in Christ. The old self passes away and the new self prevails. Daily, we need to be built up in our faith through and by the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to be built up in the Word of God.
The Devil, as a roaring lion, ever present is not too happy. He will do his utmost to stumble and turn the believer back to carnality, paganism and idolatry. Let us be forewarned as forewarned is to be forearmed.
Armour of God: 1 Peter 5:8 reminds all Christians to be sober and vigilant in order not to fall, lured or ensnared by the Devil who is ever ready to tempt believers back into sin. The Bible tells us that the best defence against the evil one is the Word of God and for us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye (we) may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11.
What is this “put on the full armour of God?” The Bible describes this as “your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17.
The Devil is fearless and bold: The Devil fears no one. He even dared to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ when the Lord completed his forty days and forty nights of fasting in the wilderness. He chose the most opportune time when the Lord was at His weakest moment and hungry. He tempted the Lord with the promises of food, power and pride (the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - 1 John 2:16). With each temptation, the Lord Jesus answered from the Word of God with “it is written…” God’s Word has power over the Devil and the Devil was defeated.
Word of God: Thus, if the Devil even dared to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ, who are we to think that the Devil will not tempt us? The Lord Himself used God’s Word to resist and defeat the Devil. Thus, we must do the same, when we are tempted. Who are we to think and believe that we can defeat the Devil with our own strength. Thus, we must learn to arm ourselves with the Word of God. Let the Word of God take root and be grounded in us.
Thus, do not neglect to partake daily of the Word of God by studying and “rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. The quality, strength and effectiveness of our armour, therefore, is dependent on the effort and time that we put into learning, understanding, applying and submitting to God’s Word in our individual life. The more effectively armed and grounded in His Word, the greater will be the assurance of our victory for Christ.
The Devil’s Game plan: The Devil does not only want an individual Christian to sin alone BUT the whole congregation especially the leadership. Nothing is too hard or impossible for the master deceiver when his eternal life mission is to stumble and weaken the Christian faith. The ultimate aim is to lead believers astray, back to idolatry and sin. Thus, be aware and always be sober and vigilant against the game plan of the Devil.
United for Christ: When I was a young Christian, I was told of an African folklore of 5 cows and a hungry lion which I would like to share herewith. It is a good illustration of the skilful and shrewd mind of the evil one.
“There used to live five cows in a village. They grew up together and were good friends. Daily they searched for green pasture to graze for food. They grazed together and saved each other from dangers and predators. Because they were united no predator dared to attack them. This was the reason why none of the cow was killed while they were together.
A lion had, indeed, an eye upon these cows for a long time. But he could never find an opportunity to make them his prey. They always stayed together and fled away from him. One day, the lion thought of a plan. He approached one of the cows and told him in confidence. “Look there is another green pasture land not far away from here. The grass is greener and taste better. You do not have to share with your fellow friends. You will not regret”. The cow resisted and ignored the lion. However, the lion was persistent and approached the same cow frequently.
One day, the 5 cows fell out for a certain reason. They quarrelled with each other and finally the cow, which the lion approached initially, decided to take the lion’s offer to graze separately his own way. The lion seized the opportunity and led the cow away from the pack. The lion attacked and killed the cow for his meal!
So, the lion decided to kill the other 4 remaining cows, one cow at a time. He took advantage of the remaining 4 disgruntled, quarrelsome and disunited cows. One by one, the lion led each away to be killed by separating them with the story of “no need to stay together if you are unhappy. There is a better green pasture nearby”. In this way, all the remaining four cows were killed one by one by the lion”.
Spiritual lesson: The cow represents “a Christian” and the pack of 5 cows represents “the Congregation”. The lion represents “the Devil”. Without the unity in faith and spirit, the Devil can destroy the whole Church! Beware and learn.
Thus, as Christians we must know God’s Word and be united in one spirit, serving the Lord together unwavering. Love one another and forbearing one another. Bear one another's burdens. Do not be easy prey to the evil schemes, temptations and snares of the Devil. The Devil can destroy a Christian’s personal faith and testimony. He can lead you to embrace false doctrines and practices. He can kill your spiritual life. He can also create doubts, confusions, mistrusts and evil intents among Christians to split the Church, especially the leadership, leading to destruction and ruin of the whole congregation!
Conclusion: Christians be forewarned and therefore be forearmed! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8. Know God’s Word and “… take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13.
“… stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27.
Eld. Choe Tong Seng