Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men. (2 Pet. 3:17)

AS THE MOTHER OF THREE CHILDREN, one of my sister’s gravest concerns as they entered adolescence and teenage years was the influence their peers might have on them. Although she raised them in church alongside families that shared her Christian values, her children were exposed to many other kids in school and extracurricular activities. My sister couldn’t raise her children in fear, so she spent countless hours reminding them of the family’s position on morals, values, and spiritual beliefs. Each day she forewarned them of potential perils and instructed them to keep their eyes and ears open at all times.

So did Peter. He became like a parent to the ever-increasing flock of first-century believers. Their faith could waver easily and their security could be shattered by threats of harm for claiming Jesus as the true Messiah. Peter knew that countless people would try to persuade Christ’s followers that He would not return, so he warned them about this and told them to stand secure in their faith.

Today as tempters assault us, the urge to heed them may grow strong. Remember, though, what the mapmakers of old used to write in uncharted territory: “Beyond this place are dragons!” Fortunately, Jesus is the greatest dragon slayer of all.

Write down one false belief that might tempt you to deny your faith.

Alice Stone Thomas is an adjunct professor of English. In addition to her three children and five grandchildren, she loves to read, write, and garden.