Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ¹⁰And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. [¹¹To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.] —1 Peter 5:9-10 
Having warned us that the devil is on the prowl seeking to destroy Christ followers, Peter continues with our marching orders: resist him. This may sound simple enough. But it’s not easy. We know that resisting the devil in our own strength is not an option. Our righteousness isn’t an adequate shield against his accusations. Our bodies will not withstand affliction because they are frail. When Satan tries to separate us from Christ by tempting our flesh, the pull to doubt God can be fierce. We are not equal to this roaring lion (v. 8).
What should we do? How do we fight? By faith, not by strength. How does faith resist the devil? When suffering and demonic opposition arises, we, like Peter, often struggle to trust and believe Jesus. When I was in the Air Force and newly married, I suffered a motorcycle accident and nearly lost my right leg. I was in a cast for over nine months. Kathy and I were new Christians, newly married, and on our own. It was at this vulnerable point in our lives that Satan attacked.
Peter tried to resist the devil in his own strength at the hour of Christ’s death, the moment of Peter’s greatest weakness. He failed. Peter knew suffering personally. Instead of explaining it away, he answered it with a look toward the future. He knew it was the Lord who restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established him (v. 10), just as He had promised He would (Luke 22:31-32).
So it is that Peter strengthens us for the fight of faith with hope in our future victory (vv. 10-11). Regardless of our trials, Jesus will restore His sheep when they stumble in sin. He guarantees our final victory, in Him, at death. Why is faith in Christ’s victory a reasonable and right response to demonic opposition and suffering? Because our faith is fixed on the eternal glory of our gracious God whose dominion is eternal and whose victory is certain.
Satan may be a roaring lion, but the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is the true Lion (Revelation 5:5). In John 16, Jesus tells us that on the cross, He judged Satan. In 1 John 3:8, we learn the reason the Son of God came: "to destroy the works of the devil." This means that our Lord and Savior came to crush Satan’s powers, bind him, and judge him. This is why we can resist the devil firm in our faith. We have the assurance of Jesus’ past and future victory.
After we suffer, Peter assures us that Jesus “will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us. Even after repeated attacks, Jesus will do it. When we were at our lowest after my accident, God sustained our trust in Jesus. We prayed and His peace helped us to overcome opposition. God had a greater plan for our lives.
He is faithful and does not depend on us; He has made us to depend on Him. The enemy may seem to succeed and even get you to fall, but he can’t keep Jesus from protecting, keeping, and restoring His own. Christians are never alone. Jesus is with us always (Matthew 28:20). It is faith in Him that provides the foundation we need to resist the devil, utterly confident in God.
What does this passage teach us about Satan? How do we resist him?
How might Peter’s exhortation change how you think about your own suffering?
After suffering a while, what will Jesus do for those who put their faith in Him?
Is there someone in your life who is suffering? Pray for that friend to persevere in faith.
Gary Brewer is Director of International Resource Development for Truth78. He has served in missions-focused ministry for 38 years, 24 of those with Baptist Mid-Missions, along with his wife Kathy. Gary and Kathy live in Grandville, MI and have three children and 12 grandchildren.