1Peter 5:8 ¶ Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.
Peter tells us that we can expect our spiritual enemy to try and attack us. He warns believers to be careful, or, on their guard. This means that it is not inevitable that we will be victims of the Devil. We can guard ourselves against his attacks. As our churches grow we can expect that the Devil will try to find some victim candidates from among our number. But we shouldn't assume that every difficulty we face will be a direct attack of the Devil. Churches face difficulties because-
We could perhaps apply Peter's fatherly warning to the church in each of these three areas. The enemy can distract us from Jesus on the Throne by whispering into our ears that all the affects of the fallen world, which we are all ocassionally afflicted by, is his doing- as if he, the Devil, has some ability to random afflict people. As we grow we can expect more injuries, sickness, pain and suffering- because this is the world in which we live! It is not necessarily the Devil's doing. We should never abandon God just because these inevitable things happen. Neither should we give up on God's ability to heal. But some churches who begin to experience growth become distracted by the affects of the fallen world. May God help us to keep our gaze on Him in the midst of afflictions.
Peter tells us to be on guard; to be careful. Consider each of these areas where difficulties can arise for a church and ponder how our church will experience these things as we grow. For some people, any growth that brings more difficulties is just not worth it. But God thinks it is. He wants us to grow. He wants us to "overcome" difficulties. Would you please pray for our churches to be growing, overcoming, churches? Would you please pray that when we experience difficulties we will have the grace to hold onto Christ? Would you please pray that we will do all we need to in order to minimise or even prevent the consequences of living in a fallen world? Would you please pray that we will have caring and understanding partners in our churches who will patiently help any new or young Christian in their walk with Christ? And, would you pray that we will grow in our knowledge and competence to help and care for people so that they grow in the walk with Christ?
Finally, would you pray that we continue to grow the Kingdom of Christ and that we are not easily disuaded from serving the Lord in the churches that He has placed us in?