1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. (NRSV)
My lawn was full of cinch bugs! As a well-known beagle would say, "Argh!" While I was otherwise occupied, they invaded my lush green lawn, eating its root system and killing the grass. My only economically feasible recourse has been to do the ecologically unthinkable and spray. My neighbour came down with his insecticide sprayer and did the dirty deed.
I am mortified because I have always prided myself on being a "green gardener". But sometimes, "desperate times require desperate measures," or so the saying goes.
This experience awakened me to another "desperate" situation, but this time a spiritual one. Just as I was caught off guard by the cinch bugs, even so there is an evil one out there who delights to catch the church "off guard". While on the surface all seems to be green and growing, the force of evil, like the cinch bugs, will work beneath the surface to do its damage. The writer of 1 Peter warns us to keep spiritually alert because the evil one, like the cinch bugs, is seeking whom he may devour.
As my lawn needed extreme measures once the infestation had set in, even so the church needs healthy doses of God's Word and prayer to counter spiritual malaise. Programs and planning alone won't do it. It takes God's own Holy Spirit working through the whole Word of God to do the job.
Prayer: Powerful God, all honour and glory belong to You. Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon each of us that we might be purged, cleansed, and also made whole. Instill in us a hunger for Your Word and a deep desire to follow it in all that we say and do. Amen.