“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ” – 1 Peter 5:8-9

If you’re following Jesus, you have an enemy.  Make no mistake about it – he’s wicked, ruthless, cunning and bent on your destruction.  He’s stalking you and he would love to take you out of the game.  He’ll throw discouragement your way.  He’ll whisper lies into your heart.  He’ll tempt you to sin.  He’ll mock you for your failures.  He hates you.  And he’s very real.

Pretty frightening words, huh?

I know many of us on the Restoration City Launch Team have felt the weight and truth of these words more in the past few weeks than we have in a while.  There’s been strain in marriages.  There’s been uncertainty with employment.  There’s been discouragement in school or at work or with friends.  Many of us are realizing that when we made the decision to help plant a church, we put a spiritual bullseye on ourselves.

When those attacks come, we need to remember that 1 Peter was written to Christians suffering under Roman persecution.  When Peter writes of suffering he’s talking about the terror unleashed by Nero.  He’s writing to a group who knew pain all too well.

But he’s also calling that church to fight!  He’s calling us to resist.  To stand firm in the truths of the gospel.  To remember that Satan may be a roaring lion but he’s a defeated lion.  Jesus wins!  We’ve been adopted into the family of God.  Our Father owns everything in all creation (Psalm 50) and Jesus has absolutely all authority on heaven and earth (Matthew 28).  We’re precious in His sight and He fights for us always! (Exodus 14)

If you’re going through a hard time, look to Jesus!  He’s our life.  He’s our hope.  He’s our strength.  He’s our refuge.  He’s our protector.  He’s our King.  And the defeated lion of this world is no match for the One who lives in us.

So, take heart.  This road is long and it’s hard.  No one ever said planting a church would be easy but it’s worth it.  And Jesus is fighting for you every step of the way.

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