1 Peter 5:7–8 (ESV) … “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. This verse explains what it means for believers to humble themselves (5:6). It is not negative and reactive; believers are not abandoned to the arbitrary will of God. Rather, it is positive and active: Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Peter explained that the believers who continued to carry their worries, anxieties, stresses, and daily struggles by themselves showed that they had not trusted God fully. It takes humility, however, to turn everything (literally, “throw your anxieties”) over to God and trust that he cares. God is not indifferent; he knows what he’s doing in our lives. Sometimes we think that struggles caused by our own sin and foolishness are not God’s concern. But when we turn to God in repentance, he will bear the weight even of those struggles. Letting God have your anxieties calls for action, not passivity. Don’t submit to circumstances, but to the Lord who controls circumstances. Peter wanted the believers facing persecution and suffering to remember to give their troubles to God and that he cared. Peter surely remembered Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 niv; see also Psalm 55:22; Matthew 6:25–34; 10:29–31; Philippians 4:6–7).
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Corrie ten Boom
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. At the same time that believers can cast all their cares on God, they must still be self-controlled and alert. These words are also translated, “Pay attention! Wake up!” urgently commanding the believers, for the warning must be heard. Peter had given the same admonition in 4:7 regarding prayer: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (niv). Likewise, Paul urged the Thessalonians to “be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 niv). Both words refer to not being lazy in one’s faith, but maintaining discipline and steadfastness.
As soldiers wait and watch, so believers must be constantly alert for the enemy. All of the persecution facing believers ultimately comes down to one source: your enemy the devil. The devil has other names—Satan, Accuser, Beelzebub—but he is the source of all evil in the world. He hates God and is God’s archenemy; thus he also hates God’s people and is their enemy as well. While Satan has no power against God, he does what he can to harm God’s people. Peter described him as prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. Lions prowl quietly, watching and waiting, suddenly pouncing when their victims least suspect it. They use fear caused by their roar to drive their prey into the jaws of another lion.
Peter warned believers to be alert for Satan, especially in times of suffering and persecution, for he walks up and down the earth (Job 1:7) seeking whom he or his demons can attack and defeat. (For more on demons, see Mark 1:23–26 and Ephesians 6:12.) When believers feel alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, they can become so focused on their troubles that they forget to watch for danger. In those times, believers are especially vulnerable to Satan’s attacks, which come in various forms, often at a person’s weakest spot—temptation, fear, loneliness, worry, depression, persecution. Therefore, Peter and Paul urged the believers to always be alert for Satan’s tricks.
The safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. C. S. Lewis