There are moments in life that one never forgets. Peter had his highs and lows, and one of his lows occurred when he was not sober-minded and watchful, and then discovered that he was under intense attack by the enemy of his soul which led to the denial that he knew Jesus. That occasion was when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter had followed them to the high priest’s house where he denied that he knew Jesus. Peter had not been thinking soberly and had not been watchful, even in a literal sense, and shortly afterwards was caught in the devil’s trap. And we can see his memory at work as he recalled that sad time.
Peter calls on his readers to have a certain attitude all the time. They are to be sober and alert. Sobriety refers to their way of thinking and alertness describes their concern about possible dangers. Such sobriety and alertness can co-exist together. We would expect a soldier on guard duty to be serious as well as alert. And we are always on guard duty in a sense because we have to protect ourselves from the enemy of our souls.
If a Christian is marked by sobriety and alertness, he will not fall, no matter how fierce the devil’s opposition becomes. This reality is clearly revealed in the story of Job. Job had no idea that one day he would be called to go through a fiery trial; yet what is of great significance is that he was ready for such a trial, whether he knew it would come or not. Job prepared for the future by his behaviour in the present, when he always put God first. Because he lived each day in the fear of God and in keeping away from evil, he was inflexible when the devil’s fierce attacks came.
Christians are in a war, and a war situation demands a particular strategy, which is to keep a clear head and to look for potential attacks. A Christian knows that the devil can only be in one place at a time, but the believer cannot tell who the devil will target next. Therefore the realistic Christian will always be ready because he knows that the devil could attack him soon.