40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 9 – Spiritual Warfare

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1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.  In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:1–11, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

Thank you very much for considering the questions about Spiritual Warfare posed yesterday, and as always, we are grateful to those who posted comments.  As we continue our focus on Spiritual Warfare, we will consider a Bible passage that reminds us, we have a prowling enemy.  If you have ever watched programs like National Geographic, you will certainly know that predators love to kill animals who stray from the herd.    

Bible Passage:

Please prayerfully read 1 Peter 5:1 – 11 (presented above).  Importantly, the passage is targeted at the church (“All of you”) and presents an ominous warning about our enemy and an encouraging reminder of who has ultimate power. 

Question:

Based on the passage, what are some of the practical ways that local churches can respond to the warning and the assurance?

5 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline:  Day 9 – Spiritual Warfare

  1. For some reason, as I read this passage, my thoughts lead to “young” people, such as teenagers and younger, even though I know “God’s flock” can include all ages.

    I think some ways the local church can respond to the warning in the passage by…
    -making a conscious effort to appeal to young people. Providing a social environment for fellowship and fun that includes the teaching of God’s Word, with an emphasis on how one should live as a Christian
    -telling the “young” of the circumstances and temptations they will encounter in life, and prepare them on how to deal with them based on God’s Word
    – encouraging the “young” to get involved with a local church or Christian organization in high school, and especially if/when they go to college/university
    -reminding them to leave their worries to God while following his Word

    As for the rest of the “flock”, we can teach and remind others that “we fight not against flesh and blood, but against the principles of darkness”. I thought about this verse when I read yesterday’s passage. It’s a verse my pastor quotes to remind us that satan is actively trying to mess with our relationship with God. (Spiritual Warfare).

    We should remind, teach, and assure that God is in control, and we can totally depend on Him.
    Importantly, as the local church, we should continually spread/live God’s Word in an effort to add more and more people to the local church.

    • Joseth’s comments are very helpful for me. Especially the section: “telling the “young” of the circumstances and temptations they will encounter in life, and prepare them on how to deal with them based on God’s Word” To help young teens to navigate life, applying God’s Word, is deeply important.

  2. It is SO important to have an ACCURATE perspective (that the devil exists and is active) AND an ETERNAL perspective (that he loses in the long run, and we, with Christ, win!).

    Sadly, there are even believers that deny our enemy’s existence, to his delight. Plus of course the other extreme… those who deny all personal accountability by blaming everything on the devil.

    So, practical steps for churches?
    Teach from the whole counsel of Scripture!
    Have Bible study small groups where people will more openly share personal experiences and receive wisdom, not just after the fact but in the midst of the battle!
    Share testimonies in the assembly.

    These are what come to mind. It is such an essential truth to the Christian walk. Teach also on the armour of God, and why it must be donned before the battle!

  3. Today, Peter has a message to the elders of the church and the younger (years and/or spiritual maturity) and a warning about the enemy that is constantly prowling around and threatens the safety and healthy thriving of the flock. Peter models and exhorts the proper heart attitude of a shepherd encouraging them with the ultimate and eternal reward to come. Younger ones in the flock are admonished to submit to the elders, who by way of their years of experience, are wiser (we hope) and can therefore speak with authority on matters individual or corporate. This requires humility – the opposite of a proud. Last but not least, Peter identifies a target entry point for the enemy that is, in the place of the emotions matters that create anxiety and internal conflict and distress within. It is in these places that God is calling out to us and drawing us to him to experience his loving, caring grace defined in the gospel of Christ.

  4. The church can explain each piece of the armour of God and how to apply them in our everyday lives. Including the importance of prayer, in Ephesians 6:10-19. . The deceptive strategies of the devil in attacking people’s lives could also be taught. And examples of how to overcome them.
    Lester spoke of sharing experiences which I also believe is important in helping our understanding. Experiences may be more readily shared in small groups. We need to know where and how we get spiritual strength in fighting spiritual battles.

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