The Bible commands us to “resist” the devil. It does not say for how long. It just says to resist.
It does not say in what capacity. It just says to resist. It does not tell us what It will look like when the roaring lion “flees”. It just tells us to resist until he does.
This verse gives us two complementary ways to resist. First is to be steadfast in the faith. The main thing the devil wants is to get us to trust in something besides God. Perhaps self. Perhaps money or power. Perhaps pleasures. Trusting in the fulfillment of appetites leads to addiction. Addiction devours our lives.
Trusting in the wrong thing is the seed of our own destruction. It is one way we can be “devoured.”
The other way this verse tells us to resist the devil is to realize and know that this is our common lot. The same sufferings are experienced by believers all over the world. We are not alone. The devil opposes, and seeks to destroy, all of humanity – believers in particular.
That means life is a team sport. Resisting the devil is something we are meant to do together. We are most vulnerable when we are alone. Living by faith is something we are meant to do in community. We are to resist together.
Resistance is active, not passive. If we keep resisting, we are promised victory. But the time and manner of the victory is not up to us. When we adopt this perspective, it makes perfect sense to resist, no matter what.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
– 1 Peter 5: 8-9