Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And 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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 5:8-11

I was reading this passage yesterday during a marriage counseling session.  I was profoundly impacted by it.  As I read it I immediately thought of my marriage and my environment.  I sensed God share some things through this text.  Here are some things I heard God saying:

  • Our marriages have an opponent; someone who is cheering and working for us to fail.  Sometimes our conflicts don’t come from the failure of either spouse but from the persistence of this opponent.  It seems that this helps in times of conflict.  It helps me to avoid seeing my spouse as my “enemy.”  He/she is not the enemy, the devil and his schemes are. It helps me see that while me and my wife will have conflicts and won't see eye to eye on some things, in disagreement there's no winner or loser, there's only resolution. 
  • In his pursuit, the enemy will “prowl” and he will “roar.” Some opposition will be obvious and loud and easily identified.  These kinds of attacks on our marriage are easily resisted. In these we can more easily be faithful to God.  Let’s seize these moments all the more!  On other occasions, the enemy’s opposition will be subtle and difficult to notice. These will require us to “be watchful.” These are the times where we’re caught sleeping.  We’ve reveled so much in our “roaring” victories that we’ve lost the need to be watchful.  This reminds me of Leon Lett's ridiculously embarrassing moment in Super Bowl XXVII.  He picked up a fumble and ran to what was an obvious touch down opportunity.  But what he didn't low was that A Buffullo Bill trailed right behind him, knocked the ball from at the 5 yard line and caused a touchback!  The announcer said, "He celebrated too early...he's gonna dig  a hole and crawl out of this place!"  Don't believe me? clicked the video to the right.
  • Being watchful is the result of a healthy reality check: I’m often weak, and the enemy is persistent.
  • Sober-mindedness calls me to remember Jesus (1 Peter 1:13).  When I recall that Christ has died and that Christ has risen and that Christ will come again, I engage my relationships, conflicts and environments through a lens that says, “This too can see renewal.  This too can live. This too can see victory.”

I’m encouraged to honor God in my marriage and other relationships by being watchful; constantly recalling Jesus’ finished work for me and us - in order that I would hope for, work towards, anticipate life In all areas of my life.