Summary: Peter’s view of handling Spiritual Warfare
* God uses few things to teach us like He uses “experience.” For instance, in the matter of raising children you might get one kind of answer from a non-parent and an entirely different one from a parent. The reason is because the non-parent offers what the text book says or what they feel while the parent has lived out the experience and understand the harsh realities equated with having the responsibilities for a child. Similarly, you can choose any situation (I.E. divorce, death, drugs, immorality, etc) and ask someone who has watched versus one who has lived through it and you’ll get extremely different answers.
* When it comes to Spiritual Warfare, it would seem that 2 Biblical writers carry more weight than all the rest. The Apostle Paul would be the first as He speaks of being tempted, carrying a thorn in His flesh, and then teaches on the Armor of God. As Paul describes the armor, with the exception of the sword, the rest of the armor is seen as defensive in nature. Paul had a keen understanding of this thing we call Spiritual warfare.
* The person I believe is more like me is Peter. Throughout Peter’s Christian journey, he is repeated tempted and amazingly, it is Peter who gives us a humanistic picture of what Satan can subtly do in the life of a believer. Think about the record of Peter’s actions and responses.
* On the water in the boat Peter said, “Lord how about I walk toward you?” Jesus said, “Come on” and you know what happened. First—at least Peter got to take a couple of steps on the water but then the tempter said, “Peter, you can’t go this.” Peter was looking at Jesus, walking like Jesus, and doing what had never been done before, but with the small, inner voice, Peter was distracted. I submit that even though Peter had taken few steps on the water, He knew that He had succumbed to the voice of the enemy & let His mind wander from Jesus. Can you imagine the heartache of Peter when Jesus said, “Why did you doubt me?” Peter knew why.
* In the hills of Caesarea Philippi after giving a heaven sent proclamation that Jesus was the “Son of the Living God”, Jesus began to teach the real, hard, and difficult to digest truth of His impending death and Peter responded, “Oh no Lord, NEVER!” Jesus’ words were “Get behind me, SATAN.” You see, Jesus saw Peter’s response for what it really was an attack of the enemy. But Satan was not through with Peter.
Spiritual Warfare – Pg 2
* Sitting around the table in the upper room, Peter is at it again. He always is tempted to take things over from His leader and says, “Don’t just wash my feet but all of me.” And Jesus probably gave Peter one of those looks as if to say, “Peter, think about where your impetuousness comes from.” But even at this point, Peter didn’t learn his lesson. At this same meeting Jesus was attempting to prepare the group for His imminent arrest, trial, and death, by saying,”Guys, you’ll be scattered because of me.” And here comes Peter to the rescue once again by saying “NOT ME.” We know that Peter fell once again, by denying Jesus not once, but 3 times! And this almost ended Peter. All four gospels record this failure of Peter and the interesting part is that Peter is not heard from again until after the resurrection. This could well be the reason Jesus said, “Go tell the disciples AND Peter.” Quite likely Jesus knew that Peter no longer felt like a disciple.
* After his restoration recorded in John 21, Peter was a different person. He knew what it was to be knocked down, depressed, and defeated by the evil one. He knew, first hand, how easily this could and does happen and I believe he attempted to warn people about this possibility. Turn with me to 1 Peter 5:8-11. Against Peter’s background of experience He offers us;
1. Realize you are in a War. – There is indeed a battle going on, it’s raging all around us. Sometimes it seems it’s out of control. As bad as the war in Iraq is (and it is horrific), this war exceeds it because it is a war for the hearts, minds and souls of every one of us. What we see on TV, hear in our music, and sense in our culture, is all about getting our minds off of our Lord and on ourselves. Within this melee it is difficult to “be sober” or “think clearly.” Peter desires for us to think “soberly” which means to let no outside or evil influence sway your thinking.