Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (Reference: 1 Peter 5:8-9)
Menno Simons warned in his writings “The devil and his accomplices, such as the world and the flesh, being very envious, have declared war and have become . . . deadly enemies. The regenerate in turn have now become enemies of sin and the devil and have taken the field against all their enemies with the Author and finisher of their faith, under the banner of the crimson cross, armed with the armor of God, surrounded with angels of the Lord, and always watching with great solicitude lest they be overcome by their enemies who never slumber, but go about like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour, hurt, and harm.” I am sure to the historic Anabaptists it seemed like everyone around them was their enemy, seeking to discredit their beliefs, undermine their faith, and dissuade them to lead the life they were called to.
But we, beloved, who live in this day and age do not have to fear the “roaring lion” . . . . do we? “The devil and his accomplices” have not changed that much in 450 years. The tenets of Christianity have not changed that much in 450 years – nor in 2000 years! We are still called to love our brother and sister, be compassionate to one another showing mercy and forgiveness. God remains the same. The Holy Spirit is still with us and guiding us. No, other than some minor issues – that same make major obstacles of faith – Christianity remains as it was. So there is no reason to believe that the evil in the world is any less intent on taking us and leading us away from God.
Five years ago, beloved, I closed my remarks saying, “May our Lord God keep the enemy at bay and uphold you until the light of Christ banishes forever the dark of gloom and misfortune. Selah!” That is not changed either!
Today is Wednesday of Holy Week. We are one step closer to Jesus being taken to the cross. In the scripture passages of the lectionary today we read about Jesus confronting Judas about his betrayal of Jesus Christ – John 13:21-32. In Isaiah 50:4-9a we read about the blessing of being given “the tongue of a teacher” and standing firm against our enemies. The passage from Psalm 70 asks for deliverance from the enemy. And the passage from Hebrews 12:1-3 is the encouragement from Paul to run the good race looking to Jesus as our example. May you beloved watch for the enemy and call on Jesus to deliver you from all things! Selah!