“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 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. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:6-9, ESV)
I love stories. They add such a rich depth to our lives. They flesh out our own experiences while letting us learn and grow from others who have gone before. They give us hooks for truth.
Some of us – lots of us – remember things more easily in story form. Why? It gives us an emotional connection for Truth which makes it easier to see and understand. It’s why well done historical fiction can be more educational in the long run than a timeline, and why Pastors and teachers use sermon illustrations.
Now, stories must be kept in their appropriate place. I am by no means suggesting we get truth from the stories. We get truth from the Scriptures. They are our final authority and our judge of a stories value. But, we can take our Christian-colored glasses and look at stories thru them, turning them into delightful tools and gifts to educate and remember. Even ‘bad’ stories can aid us by helping us understand why Truth is precious. We do need to be careful about what stories we consume whether you filter out the bad, or filter in the good. This means we must practice Constant Vigilance!
My Dad has been preaching through 1 Peter during his pulpit rotation for the last year or so. As he expositionally goes through the book, I’ve been reminded of the Auror in Harry Potter named Mad-eye Moody. He taught Harry, Ron, and Hermione that the only way to fight against the Dark Arts was to maintain “Constant Vigilance!” In 1 Peter 5:6-9 we are called to be sober-minded. In other places we are told to be ready in season and out, to listen to our elders, to repent, to not be surprised, to study – “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”(Heb 5:13) In other words, practice
The story of Moody teaching Harry to be vigilant against the Dark Arts helps me flesh out the idea of going to war against sin, to be guarded against lies, and to love my church.
I can take the minor story of how soberly Harry takes his fight against Voldemort and be reminded of how much more soberly I should take my fight against sin.
Don’t be deceived. You are in a war. You may not look like it. You may not have weapons, combat training, or a working knowledge of how to look and be intimidating. Don’t be fooled! You are in a greater, bigger, and longer war with more at stake than any war we have ever fought. Be a wise warrior and prepare! Train!
How? Know the tools the enemy uses just like Moody taught Harry. Trust and love those in authority – something Harry is constantly learning. (And I don’t mean the Ministry. I mean Dumbledore.) Pray for your elders! Prepare yourself with the tools at hand – like the DA – by being at church on Sunday and Wednesday. Be ready and willing to fight no matter what. And read good books. Find those hooks that help remind you of the truths of Scripture be it a song, a story, a picture. Practice