How do you respond when you are stressed? There is something about worry or anxiety that screams our need for God. When conflict in our hearts arise, our response is either to pray or become prey of the enemy. The Apostle Peter clearly understood this internal battle.
Peter wrote: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Anxiety is a divided inner being. It’s like having one foot in and one foot out with God. Usually, we trust in ourselves more than we trust in God. Peter experienced this when he disowned Christ three times after His arrest (see Mark 14:66-72). Relaying the stress he experienced, Peter communicated to anyone overcome with anxiety, “Pray.”
Peter’s rejection of Christ included adamant denial, cursing, and weeping. We often do the same, denying the opportunity to turn to Him when we are tempted to trust in ourselves, becoming vulnerable to Satan’s attack. Peter warned: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In essence, Peter said, “Don’t fall prey to the enemy!”
Satan wants nothing more than to destroy our intimacy with God. Recognizing this, Peter offered a prescription for suffering believers tempted to go it alone: resist and stand firm. “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” (1 Peter 5:9).
When we pray, resist the devil, and stand firm in the faith, we experience God’s grace, His undeserved love, His unmerited favor, that heals our hearts and makes us new again: “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” (1 Peter 5:10).
Are you full of worry and anxiety? Pray so you don’t become prey to the evil one. The Spirit of Christ is ready, willing, and able to deliver you from your vulnerability, guarding your heart like a military fortress, to restore you to His design for your life. Just like He prayed for Peter to turn back from Satan’s prey in order to bring His restoration to others (see Luke 22:31-32), so He prayed for you and me to do the same (see John 17:20-21). That’s why each of us can turn to Him and claim what Peter did: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).